Impeached Gov. Evan Mecham, who claims The Arizona Republic and Phoenix Gazette helped wreck his political career, is starting a daily paper to compete with them, associates say.

Mecham associates, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Monday the former governor hoped to deliver about 500,000 copies of his Arizona Newsday to Phoenix-area doorsteps - about the same circulation as the Republic.The tabloid would be free for the first year, they said. They refused to identify any of his backers. Mecham, who launched a paper decades before he became governor, declined to comment in advance of a news conference Wednesday.

Mecham, a conservative Republican, was impeached and removed by the Democratic-controlled Legislature in 1988 after a year in office.

He was convicted by the Senate of loaning public money to his auto dealership.