Are You Buying Paul Babeu's Explanation for Dropping Out of Congressional Race?

Our colleague Monica Alonzo reported late last week that Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu's dropping his congressional bid, which might not exactly come as a surprise.

What may come as a surprise is his explanation why he's dropping out of the race, which happens to exclude anything about the abuse-of-power allegations from his Mexican ex-boyfriend, the allegations stemming from his time atop a Massachusetts school for troubled teens, his dismal poll numbers and fundraising dip, as well as everything else on the laundry list.

Instead, Babeu's announcement was that he just has to be sheriff again.

Babeu announced he's going to run for re-election instead of giving his buddy Chief Deputy Steve Henry a shot, as Henry's campaign website disappeared shortly thereafter.

Babeu's reasoning behind this is that the federal agency investigating Babeu and other members of his office for participating in political activities says Henry can't run for sheriff in his current position. Thus, in Babeu's mind, he has to continue as sheriff.

"The federal Office of Special Counsel has advised Chief Henry that because our office receives federal funds and Steve supervises those who are in control of federal funds, he is not able to run for Sheriff while serving as our Chief Deputy," Babeu said in a statement. "Chief Henry was left three choices, resign his position as Chief Deputy and run for Sheriff, withdraw his candidacy for Sheriff or transfer to a non-leadership position within our office where he would not supervise anybody who handles any federal funding. Forget the politics, none of these options are good to maintain the continued success of our Sheriff's Office.

Are you buyin' a word of that?

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley