See also: Stauffer Must Exit Sheriff's Race or Forever Be the Goat See also: Mike Stauffer's Third-Wheel Bid for Sheriff May Keep Arpaio in Office See also: Joe Arpaio Foe Mike Stauffer's Twitter Account Filled with Questionable "Followers" (w/Update)
Well, if you were waiting for the race for Maricopa County Sheriff to cross the line into total weirdness, your wait is over.
Scottsdale Police Lieutenant Mike Stauffer, who is running as an Independent against Sheriff Joe Arpaio, has suggested in a recent Facebook post that a supporter of Democratic sheriff candidate Paul Penzone may have threatened Stauffer's campaign manager West Kenyon.
Stauffer also seems to indicate that the alleged "threat" has been reported to a law enforcement agency.
Problem is, it doesn't look like much of a "threat."
In a long, rambling post, Stauffer alleges that the following e-mail from Penzone supporter Devin Fleenor, a well known electronic musician, to Kenyon, is "vaguely threatening" and somehow steps over the line.
I know that you think you are doing the right thing by staying in the race and pushing forward even though you have NO chance at winning this election.
I hope you know that if you end up taking 2-4 % of the vote which leads to an Arpaio victory in November, you personally will be one of the most hated and vilified people in our community. I would ask that you and Mike do what is best for Maricopa County and step aside.
Regards, Devin Fleenor People Against Sheriff Joe Arpaio"
How anyone can find this "vaguely threatening" is puzzling. Reads more like a statement of unassailable fact.
But one Scottsdale cop doesn't see it that way.
"I want these bullies to know that we will not be intimidated by their Arpaio-lite tactics," Stauffer states in the post. "The authorities have already been advised and taken an interest in this latest un-American attempt to intimidate someone exercising their right to support and work for the candidate of their choice."
In a response posted on Fleenor's People Against Joe Arpaio Facebook page, which boasts more than 116,000 "likes," the alleged "bully" published screenshots of comments to Stauffer's post that were apparently deleted.
"Is his campaign update, he refers to me as `cowardly,'" writes Fleenor. "Yet Mike Stauffer (or West Kenyon, his campaign manager) deleted every single comment we left in response to his letter. Anyone who thinks Mike can handle being Sheriff when he can't even handle polite criticism is FOOLING themselves."
(Minor point concerning Stauffer's reference above to publishing his personnel file:I published Stauffer's entire personnel file on July 12. According to Stauffer's blog, he did so on July 21.)
A phone call to Stauffer's camp has not yet been returned.
Asked if the Phoenix Police Department had any report from Stauffer or Kenyon of a threat, PPD spokesman Trent Crump stated that, "A blind search of the names shows nothing recent in the system."
Fleenor told me that he has not been contacted by law enforcement, and that he no longer volunteers with Penzone, as he's now working on his own, independent commercials targeting Arpaio.
"I'm friendly with them, and I like them," Fleenor said of the Penzone camp. "But I don't want to have any possible complications with what I'm doing."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Fleenor says he has volunteered for Penzone in the past.
I've also asked the Scottsdale Police Department for any recent reports of threats related to Stauffer's candidacy, and I asked if Stauffer still works with the SPD. Stauffer had announced that he would be retiring from the SPD at the end of August.
Will update, if and when I get more.