Yesterday, Congressman Paul Gosar announced that he is running in the new “River District,” CD 4, which is comprised of Yavapai and Mohave counties and parts of Pinal and Yuma counties. This move sets up a showdown with Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu (and potentially other candidates).
Gosar has the advantage of incumbency and having represented nearly a third of the district, in particular Yavapai County, the heart of the old District 1.
On the other hand, Babeu, as Sheriff, only represents a small portion of the new CD 4.
Babeu’s ambition for higher office has been obvious since right after he got elected to Sheriff of Pinal County in 2008. He quickly set out to establish a reputation of being tough on the border and sought the national spotlight – which wasn’t difficult given his good looks and how much more articulate he is than another anti-immigration Sheriff from Arizona.
However, at the end of the day, Gosar has the upper hand in a primary with Sheriff Babeu. Despite some of the chatter about Gosar’s staff, he has some very solid folks on board and will have top-notch political advice for 2012.
(For the record, Gosar is not a client of mine or my firm)
Additionally, Gosar has taken the lead in holding the Obama administration accountable for the outrageous behavior of the Justice Department and the execution of an ATF operation called “Fast and Furious.” Already, U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke and the head of ATF, Kenneth Melson, have resigned and been reassigned, respectively, as a result, and when it’s all said and done, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder may end up resigning. And it was Gosar at the front of this investigation. Not bad for a freshman.
With Gosar having his strongest base in Yavapai County, it will be difficult for anyone to beat him in a primary.