Feathered Bastard

John McCain Endorses Rick Romley for Maricopa County Attorney

The Romley campaign's latest YouTube video dissing Montgomery

U.S. Senator John McCain took some time off from horsewhippin' GOP primary rival J.D. Hayworth to endorse Rick Romley for Maricopa County Attorney over Sheriff Joe Arpaio's boy in that primary race, Bill Montgomery.

To call McCain's endorsement of Romley "glowing" would be an understatement. The press release from the Romley camp quotes McCain thus,

"If you believe, as I do, that experience matters -- that character matters -- then you'll understand why I'm so proud to stand with Rick Romley in the race for County Attorney. Rick has spent nearly his entire life in service to others.From his service to our country in Vietnam, where he lost both legs during battle, to his relentless pursuit of justice for the victims of crime, Rick understands that doing what's right, popular or not, is the true measure of service. It's certainly the measure of a County Attorney."

McCain waxes on to say that he always introduces Romley as "the Honorable Rick Romley," not for protocol's sake, "but as a matter of fact."

It's a significant endorsement despite the fact that McCain and Sheriff Joe have long been deadly enemies. McCain's "experience matters...character matters" line is obviously a shot at Montgomery, an Arpaio stooge who nonetheless badmouthed his political benefactor in a conversation he had earlier this year with Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley.

Montgomery suggested that Arpaio belonged in a nursing home, among other things. Now Arpaio's endorsement is pretty much the only thing that gives the little known former prosecutor hope of success in the August 24 primary. That's irony so thick it could smother a crowd of baseball lovers at Chase Field.

Should Montgomery somehow pull out a win Tuesday, he would do Arpaio's bidding without question. There would be absolutely no check on the authority of Sheriff Joe and his top henchman Chief Deputy David Hendershott. 

The Dems are not fielding a candidate for County Attorney, you see. So the winner of the GOP primary will de facto become the next County Attorney.

Which is why the GOP County Attorney primary is perhaps the most important contest now underway. Most political observers believe Romley will take Montgomery on Tuesday, as Montgomery's name recognition is weak. Also, Montgomery is so obviously Arpaio's slave that even grosses out Joe-lovers.

A lot of people -- Democrats and Republicans -- want a permanent end to the in-county insanity that ruled under former County Attorney Andrew Thomas. They'll be holding their collective breath on Tuesday, on this race, and on Thomas' slugfest with Arizona Schools Superintendent Tom Horne over the GOP nod for state Attorney General. 

Should Thomas prevail there, it's left to the Dems to stop him in the general. And that's not a contest I'd want money riding on.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons