Joe Arpaio-Foe Paul Penzone and Republican Grant Woods Vote, and Woods on "Chenal-Gate"

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Democratic sheriff's candidate Paul Penzone was joined by two prominent Arizona Republicans Friday morning, as he cast his ballot at the Maricopa County Elections tabulation center downtown.

Former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods and Rich Dozer, one-time president of the Arizona Diamondbacks, both GOPers, were on hand to show their support, and in Woods' case, to vote early as well.

See also: -Joe Arpaio Pimps Stooge Mike Stauffer and Lies About Paul Penzone -Stauffer Must Exit Sheriff's Race or Forever Be the Goat -Joe Arpaio on the Run from Paul Penzone, Mike Stauffer the Goat in New Poll (w/Update)

Woods told me afterward that he split his ticket, voting for Congressman Jeff Flake for U.S. Senate, Mitt Romney for President, and Penzone for sheriff.

I asked him if he thought many other Rs would do likewise. He said he wasn't sure, and then noted the obvious problems with this race.

"One is there's a phony independent candidate on the ballot siphoning votes away," he noted. "Two, Arpaio has spent an enormous amount of money."

Concerning point number one, Woods, along with several other local power-brokers made an effort this summer to encourage Stauffer to exit the race.

Phoenix attorney Mike Manning approached Stauffer directly on behalf of Woods, former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton, former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley, ex-Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, former Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris, and ex-Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon.

Manning tried to set up a meeting with the wannabe-spoiler, but Stauffer told Manning that he was determined to stay in the race, though his tiny fraction of the vote may end up sealing the deal for Arpaio.

In other words, Stauffer is more concerned with self-aggrandizement and his pathetic attempt to rationalize his lame existence on this Earth, than actually removing Arpaio from power.

But you knew that.

A truffle of online political humor from local comedian Brian Nissen

Woods added that Penzone-supporters are in the uncomfortable position of having to "count on the collective intelligence of the voters of Maricopa County," and hope that they are at long last fed up with the sheriff's shenanigans.

That's a strategy "fraught with peril," conceded Woods.

"But it does happen," he said. "All of sudden people just hit a point and they go, `I may have supported the guy before, but I can't support the guy anymore.'"

The question is, are we finally at that crossroads?

"If you're not there now after all of the crap that Arpaio's pulled, you're never going to get there," he observed. "Because I can't imagine that he could have done more objectionable things in a pretty short period of time."

Woods expects a close race, or at least closer than Arpaio's ever had before.

"Things are different this time," Woods said. "You have a credible candidate against [Arpaio] in Penzone...Just as importantly, people across the board, from Republicans, Democrats, independents, business people, conservatives, have all seen that [Arpaio] is hurting the state and the image of the state. And that you just can't sit idly by and allow these things to happen."

More from Nissen, who obviously knows rednecks to a T

Indeed, we may finally have a perfect storm, with Arpaio's racial-profiling ways energizing Latinos, and his profligacy with the people's money and his dereliction of duty in the sex crimes fiasco pushing Rs and others to vote against him.

Before Penzone entered the elections building to deliver his early ballot, he was asked what he thought his chances were for Tuesday.

"I think my chances are exceptional," he replied. "Not because I feel that way, but because of the response that we've seen. This is a non-partisan race. My history has spoken to public safety, public service.

"People have treated me with respect and come on board to support me. And the growing support is definitely going to make the difference for me...on Tuesday."

Penzone was cheered on by supporters as he and Woods went to cast their ballots.

Afterward, as Penzone and Woods walked back to their cars, I couldn't help but wonder Woods' opinion of "Chenal-gate," the scandal currently plaguing state Attorney General Tom Horne's administration.

"I can tell you that never happened under my administration, and I'm pretty sure [never] under [former Governor and one-time AAG] Napolitano's administration," he stated.

I asked Woods if he thought Horne should resign.

"I've stayed out of all that whole mess," he said. "Let's just wait and see what happens. I've got enough problems now with Arpaio, who's going to be on my ass, again. But it's fascinating."

Folks always joke to me that I must want Arpaio around, otherwise, what would I have to write about?

The answer is, a lot.

Arpaio's misdeeds suck too much oxygen out of the atmosphere. Plenty of other corruption goes ignored in Sand Land, just because it pales in comparison to the constant stench over at the MCSO.

On the plus side, Penzone is a solid candidate, and Arpaio is weaker than he's ever been.

The Baby Ruth floating in the pool, alas, is Stauffer. That pie-faced chump is the one thing that could muck things up on November 6.

Unless, that is, he pulls more votes from Arpaio than Penzone, assisting the latter to a win, an irony that Stauffer and Sheriff Joe richly deserve.

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