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Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and Paul Babeu, Pinal County Sheriff, Among Esteemed Nominees for TPM's 2012 Golden Duke Awards

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Just two more days before Talking Points Memo (TPM), a lefty political website, announces the winners of its Sixth Annual Golden Duke Awards to recognize the "year's best purveyors of public corruption, outlandish behavior and The Crazy."

Not one, but two top officials in Arizona have been nominated for the award named after former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham -- Governor Jan Brewer and Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu.

See also: Babeu's Mexican Ex-Lover Says Sheriff's Attorney Threatened Him With Deportation See also: Babeu's Congressional Campaign Contributions Collapse in the Weeks Following Allegations He Abused His Power See also: Babeu "Pleaded" With Ex-Boyfriend to Keep Silent About Relationship, AG's Investigators Reveal

Brewer has been nominated for the Meritorious Achievement in The Crazy award, for "that finger pointing, tarmac tiff with President Obama, climate change denial and allegedly punching a reporter."

Brewer is facing some stiff competition from other notable nominees:

  • Paul Broun for tearing into scientists, calling them tools of the devil for evolution and the Big Bang Theory
  • Donald Trump for being a top Romney campaign surrogate while simultaneously offering to donate $5 million to charity should Obama release his college records
  • Todd Akin for claiming that victims of "legitimate rape" have unnamed biological defenses that prevent pregnancy
  • Clint Eastwood for delivering a bizarre, rambling speech to an empty chair on stage at the Republican National Convention ... in prime time

Babeu, a Congressional candidate dropout and recently re-elected sheriff of Pinal County, has outdone the governor by snagging nominations in two separate categories.

Competing against the likes of David Petraeus and the Secret Service in the Best Scandal -- Sex and Generalized Carnality category, Babeu got a nod for "allegedly threatening to deport his gay lover, an illegal immigrant, if he ever told anyone about their romance."

He also is a finalist in the Best Scandal -- Local Venue category, again, for "allegedly threatening to deport his gay lover, an illegal immigrant, if he ever told anyone about their romance."

While Pinal County's top cop was cleared of criminal wrongdoing by an investigator appointed by fellow Republican Attorney General Tom Horne (now tangled up in a sex scandal of his own), Babeu's actions derailed his Congressional campaign and left a stain on the sheriff's political and professional judgment as permanent as the tribal tattoos adorning his body.

(Among those actions: Taking and sending half-naked photos and other compromising pictures of himself to an anonymous individual, setting up a profile with an unmistakeable from-the-chin-down picture of himself on hook-up site for gay men, sexting from the same phone that he uses for county business and carrying on a sexual relationship with a campaign worker.)

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