Though he can't boast much in the way of contributions, Scottsdale Police Lieutenant and sheriff's office hopeful Mike Stauffer may have earned his place on the November general election ballot as an Independent.
According to a press release issued today by the Stauffer camp, which you can read below, Stauffer has scored "well over 20,000 signatures." That could mean Stauffer has made the cut, assuming the sigs can stand up to a challenge.
In the general, Stauffer'd be squaring off against our birth certificate-vetting Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a Republican, and former Phoenix Police Sergeant Paul Penzone, a Democrat.
Because Stauffer's running as an Indie, he has to submit far more signatures to secure his ballot spot than he would as a Dem or a GOPer: 19,410, versus 2,582 for a Democrat and 3,531 for a Republican.
West Kenyon, Stauffer's campaign manager, told me the signatures were gathered through a combination of volunteers and paid petition circulators. He said that all the signatures had been vetted up to this point, meaning that the campaign has checked the signatures to make sure they are from qualified electors in Maricopa County.
Kenyon also stated that the Stauffer camp will continue to gather sigs for the foreseeable future. The deadline for candidates to turn in their signatures is May 30.
The announcement is a much-needed psychological boost to Stauffer's campaign. Stauffer's January finance report showed the candidate with a mere $289.22 cash-on-hand, having raised $4,285.79 to date.
That report called into question Stauffer's viability as a candidate, particularly considering the fact Arpaio was sitting on $3.4 million in cash-on-hand as of January.
Penzone announced his candidacy in late January, and so far has only had to file a statement of organization with county elections.
(A side issue: There are no expenditures listed for a petition circulating firm in Stauffer's January report. Kenyon explained that a firm was hired after the filing with the county. He declined to name the firm in question.)
I have met and like both Penzone and Stauffer, and either one of them would be an improvement over Arpaio, obviously. Problem is, in a three-man race, Stauffer and Penzone split the anti-Arpaio vote.
Only in a one-on-one contest will Arpaio be beaten. And he is weak enough to be beaten come this November.
Which means either Penzone or Stauffer will have to bow out, if they really care about defeating Arpaio in the fall.
Otherwise, get ready for another four years of corruption, abuse of power and clownish shenanigans from crusty ol' Sheriff Joe.
Stauffer's press release issued today:
CAMPAIGN COLLECTS WELL OVER 20,000 SIGNATURES
The Mike Stauffer for Maricopa County Sheriff campaign is pleased to announce a major victory. We have gathered well beyond the necessary number of nominating signatures needed to be on the November 6th general election ballot.
This marks a significant step toward a win for the people of Maricopa County. You have been the reason for our success in accomplishing our goal of well over 20,000 signature endorsements to serve as the next sheriff of Maricopa County. We are humbled by the strong support from the many thousands of hardworking, concerned citizens as we have traveled throughout the county.
We have taken our message to every city and town in the county and we will not stop. You appreciate our message: "There is no longer room for the Republican or Democratic party to run the sheriff's office. It's time for a non-partisan, experienced, professional law enforcement leader who is not subject to extremest party political agendas." The intense support given to our campaign across the county by voters of all political affiliations is truly overwhelming and the consensus is: "We need an independent leader as our next sheriff."
This contest has only just begun in earnest and the Mike Stauffer for Sheriff campaign will leave no stone unturned in delivering our message over the next few months leading up to the general election in November.
We know that our Republican and Democratic opponents are now chomping at the bit to discredit YOUR signatures. We fully anticipate our partisan opponents to use party tactics to deny your choice in the upcoming election. However we will take the highroad and not challenge our opponent's petition signatures.
To ensure your voice is heard, we will continue to give you the opportunity to sign our nominating petition and send a clear message to our partisan opponents that this is YOUR decision NOT theirs.
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Thank you again to the many thousands who are supporting this campaign and I look forward to serving you as the next sheriff of Maricopa County.
Maricopa County Sheriff, 2012.