Muck My Day

Sheriff candidate fears dirty politics

"We are going to get out early and in force and get people activated," he says. "The votes are out there; I know there is an incredible amount of frustration out there with Arpaio. We just have to get those people to the polls."

Bearup says he will continue to pound Arpaio on the same issues he has addressed for the last year. But he doesn't have much campaign cash either. He's raised about $23,881 and spent about $16,814, leaving him with roughly $7,000, according to county election officials.

"You've got a guy doing dog-and-pony shows on the backs of the employees of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office," Bearup says. "He is weak on financial issues, he is weak on morale issues, he's weak on all kinds of issues. We are going to have 50 to 100 people walking neighborhoods every day to get the message out. We're going to pay the price to get our message out there."

Tom Bearup
Paolo Vescia
Tom Bearup

Bearup says he hopes to neutralize Arpaio's financial advantage by diligently challenging local media outlets for equal time. During the primary, he says, Arpaio and his public information officers often got air time on television and radio while Robertson was ignored.

Also, Bearup says several national media sources have contacted him, saying they are planning stories about Arpaio and his race.

"There will be much more coverage of the general election, and I believe we can use that to neutralize some of his advantage," Bearup says.

Both Ayala and Bearup are courting the associations representing law enforcement personnel in the county and the state, all of which had supported Robertson. Both Bearup and Ayala say they were disappointed by the small number of law enforcement personnel who assisted Robertson's campaign.

"To be honest, I was disappointed, too," Gerberry says. "To some degree, though, you've got to remember -- if deputies or detention officers help out, they get destroyed. You've got a lot of people who are scared to say anything for fear of losing their jobs."

Arpaio declined to discuss his campaign strategy, saying through spokesman Sergeant Dave Trombi that he would be "happy to talk about the election with you after the election is over."

Which raises the question: Isn't it already over?

"We may just have to wait to see how many people vote in the general election," Gerberry says. "That's when we'll know how many signatures will be needed for the recall."

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