Scottsdale Lieutenant Mike Stauffer, the man who hopes to unseat Joe Arpaio as Maricopa County sheriff, announced Friday that he's switching party affiliation to run as an Independent.
It's probably a pretty good move -- Stauffer originally was running as a Republican, which means he would have had to face Arpaio in a GOP primary. Arpaio's brand of fruitcake, reality show sheriffin' tends to appeal to Maricopa County's far-right-wing-nuts, who would likely vote en masse for America's self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff."
Stauffer, a life-long Republican, has said from the first days of his candidacy that the office of the sheriff shouldn't be politicized -- that it's about law enforcement, not political ideologies.
In a recent New Times online town hall, Stauffer was asked whether he thought he'd have a better shot at beating Arpaio if he ran as an Independent. At the time, he dismissed the idea, saying "unfortunately, the sheriff's race is a partisan race. I have been a registered Republican since I was 18 years old and changing parties now would inject an undesirable political aspect to my campaign and distract from the real and pressing issues facing the MCSO."
He's since changed his tune, now saying "
See Stauffer's entire statement on switching party affiliation below.
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