Pinal County Sheriff's Election: Seven Candidates Submit Signatures, Qualify for Ballot
Seven candidates are vying to serve as the next sheriff of Pinal County, a post now held by one of those candidates -- embattled incumbent Paul Babeu.
Babeu faces stiff competition from three Republicans, two Democrats and one Independent.
Babeu quit his race for a seat in Arizona's Fourth Congressional District in the wake of multiple scandals that severely hampered both his campaign contributions and political support. He decided to run instead for reelection, pushing his number-two guy -- PCSO Chief Deputy Steve Henry -- out of the sheriff's race.
The feds, who have been investigating Babeu and his office staff for Hatch Act violations, that is politicking on the job, informed Henry he couldn't run for office and remain in his paid position in the Sheriff's Office, Babeu claimed.
Babeu submitted 1,278 nomination signatures by the Wednesday deadline, fewer than half of the number collected by Independent candidate for sheriff Ty Morgan.
Morgan, who had to collect at least 1,816 signatures, ended up submitting 2,800 signatures. Republicans in the race were required to turn in a minimum of 274 signatures.
The signatures qualifying the candidates aren't verified as valid unless they are challenged, according to the Pinal County Elections Department.
The election trail will be a tough one for Babeu to traverse.
The scandal-ridden sheriff has to overcome: