Posts Tagged ‘Babeu’
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu dropped out of the race for Congress from Arizona’s 4th District and announced he would run for re-election as Sheriff.
His official reason is that his hand-picked successor is prohibited from running for office while being paid from an account funded by federal dollars. The real reason is that he realized he was going to lose and needed to save face.
It’s no secret that I believe he is unfit for office. I was one of the first to call for him to resign as Sheriff. I’ve questioned his use of official resources for campaign purposes, advised him to stop digging, discussed his lack of fiscal discipline and pointed out that the cover up is more politically damaging than the initial scandal.
So rather than do the right thing and walk away, he has wasted hundreds of thousands of supporters money running for Congress, only to then say that he was convinced by those supporters to abandon his Congressional run.
Many Pinal residents have asked me to stay as their Sheriff and continue this fight. Many worried that my voice and impact would be lost if elected as one of 435 members of Congress. I was elected because I listen and respond to the people I represent.
So let me get this straight. He runs for Congress because he was encouraged to “take the fight to Washington” and then blows a pile of contributors money and then says, oh, you’re right, why be one of 435 measly Congressmen?
The arrogance is stunning and disappointing.
[Disclosure – as of yesterday, my firm, DC London, was retained by Pinal County Sheriff candidate, Derek Arnson]
Questions continue to mount regarding what Sheriff Babeu and his attorney Chris DeRose did and said in their attempts to keep Babeu’s relationship with a Mexican national quiet.
The Arizona Republic ran this story on the front page on Sunday, and CBS News national, and dozens of other outlets, picked up this story from AP. The AP story focuses on Babeu’s challenge to win a Republican primary after being “outed.”
One question that hasn’t been answered is, why would Babeu resign from Romney’s campaign and continue his Congressional campaign? If you can’t be a volunteer co-chairman of a state for a Presidential campaign, does it make sense to continue to run for office yourself?
I continue to assert that his being gay is not the issue here. The issue is what actions he or his attorney took to cover up that he is gay. DeRose claims that the whole matter was put to rest after the ex-boyfriend turned over the social media passwords, but that is clearly false.
As the New Times reports, DeRose emailed the ex-boyfriend after he had turned over the passwords suggesting they get together to “discuss settling these outstanding claims.”
In his defense, DeRose provides a “cease and desist” letter he wrote to Jose, and he points out to New Times that there are no threats in that letter.
We didn’t expect him to provide us a copy of the threat he is accused of making.
The assertions from Babeu’s camp that the dispute between he and Jose ended after Jose turned over passwords to the campaign accounts Babeu says were hacked strain credulity when you consider the letters Weiss-Riner sent to Babeu and his attorney.
And DeRose’s own e-mail to Jose on September 7 — after he turned over the passwords — contradicts his characterization that Jose wasn’t pressed to sign anything after he complied with DeRose’s requests.
“We have a decision to make about what’s already been done,” DeRose wrote to Jose. “If you have cooperated as it appears, this will mitigate heavily in your favor. As we consider what’s already been done, would you like your opinion to be considered?”
DeRose invites Jose to his office to “discuss settling these outstanding claims.”
They asked him to turn over the passwords, which he did. And yet, contrary to DeRose’s portrayal to New Times and other media outlets that that was the end of it, his own e-mail states there were “outstanding claims.”
So what were the “outstanding claims”? Until answers are provided by Babeu and his attorney this looks like a threat. And that’s the problem – when you are in a hole, stop digging.
Pinal County Sheriff Babeu held a press conference on Saturday to knock down allegations that he threatened to deport his former boyfriend, dismissing those charges as false. But the denial leaves some unanswered questions.
At first blush the idea of Babeu bravely standing before the media and admitting that he is gay – essentially “owning” the issue – seems like a good idea, but the press conference actually raised more questions than it answered.
The role of Babeu’s attorney and campaign manager, Chris DeRose is unclear, and needs further explanation. What exactly did DeRose say and do in his interactions with the former boyfriend and his attorney?
If this is about private and personal issues, why would Babeu feel compelled to tell the Romney camp that he was stepping down as the state co-chair of the campaign?
Why would Babeu need to make an obvious statement that he couldn’t deport someone himself? No one doubts that – I’m sure not even his former boyfriend. To raise that seems odd.
Why is Babeu not threatening legal action against the former boyfriend for making such a “false accusation?” Babeu and his attorney seemed more than ready to utilize the legal system when all the guy had done was log into a website and twitter account. But he accuses Babeu of illegal activity and abuse of power and Babeu’s response is to hold a press conference?
One text exchange reported in the New Times story implies there was more to this than just website tampering.
In one series of texts Jose provided, the sheriff himself appears to be threatening his former lover:
Babeu: “You can never have business after this and you will harm me and many others in the process . . . including yourself & your family.”
Babeu followed with: “And you say you have loved me? Papi . . . this is no good.”
Jose responded: “Good threats. Wont work. Im already hurt me . . . and you didn’t care.”
Jose: “Dont threat me. Thats illegal. Im just speaking . . . true.”
Babeu: “You have crossed the line. Better get an attorney. You brother will also be contacted.”
What did Babeu mean when he wrote “You brother will also be contacted”? This drama is far from over.
Which is why for many political hacks like me, the idea of a press conference didn’t seem to make sense. Long-time PR guru, David Leibowitz tweeted: Can’t believe Babeu is holding a press conference. File this under PR/political disaster.
Sharpe is right that Babeu handled himself with grace and dignity on the issue of being gay, but that’s not what this story is or should be about.
One of the things that has many political observers buzzing is the seemingly disregard between Babeu’s official office and his campaign. That was only highlighted as he continued to insist that his private life was “out of bounds.” If he is going to use that defense, it can’t be done in uniform in front of the Sheriff’s office with more than a dozen Sheriff’s officers, in uniform, standing behind him.
There appears to be a pattern of the blurring of the official versus campaign lines. For example, Babeu uses the exact photograph on his campaign website as is posted on the Pinal County Sheriff’s website. Not legal.
This is far from settled.
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.
While the rest of the nation focused on Iowa and the GOP nomination process, Arizona politics is running at warp speed.
State Legislator Kristen Sinema resigned her seat to seek the Democrat nomination for the newly drawn 9th Congressional district that encompasses parts of Phoenix, Tempe and Ahwatukee. It is considered a “swing” district that most believe leans Democrat.
Sinema is probably one of the smartest politicians in Arizona. She is witty, unorthodox and effective. And she is incredibly liberal.
It appears that Arizona Democrat Party Chairman Andrei Cherny is likely to jump into the race, as is State Legislator David Schapira. My money is on Sinema. But because she is so liberal, it makes it more likely that Republicans can win that seat in the general election.
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Obama’s campaign has continued to push the meme that Arizona is winnable. As you may know, I think they are smoking crack.
Here is a simple thought exercise: do you think that the Democrat nominee for the new 9th Congressional district would host a rally with President Obama in late October of 2012? Me neither. Point made.
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In the newly created 4th Congressional district – also known as the “river district” that takes in half of Pinal county, wraps up and around the Valley and includes Yavapai, Mohave, La Paz and part of Yuma counties – is creating a hotbed of activity on the Republican side. Congressman Paul Gosar is mulling whether to move to Yavapai County to run in this seat. Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu announced he is running in that seat and Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce has expressed interest. This could turn into a slugfest in the primary, but it will be a Republican seat.
The new Congressional District 6 is likely to see a showdown between Congressman Ben Quayle and Congressman David Schweikert. That will be a race for the ages.
Speculation about what Representative Gabby Giffords does is just that: speculation. That situation warrants it’s own post, which I’ll do later.
Congressmen Grijalva and Pastor will be safe in their respective districts, which leaves the newly drawn 1st Congressional district. Former Rep. Anne Kirkpatrick is raising a ton of money there, but she will be in for an interesting primary against Wenona Benally Baldenegro, a smart (Harvard-trained lawyer) Native American who is running to Kirkpatrick’s left.
So the burning question is who will Republicans run in the new CD 1?