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."
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He's since changed his tune, now saying "
See Stauffer's entire statement on switching party affiliation below.