We think we've figured out why Congressional candidate Matt Salmon refuses to explain his newfound love for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio: Salmon's leading the polls -- why bother?
Salmon's campaign today issued a press release claiming Salmon leads his two GOP opponents in the District 6 Congressional primary by at least 30 points -- although, 47 percent of those polled are undecided.
According to the poll, conducted by Arizona-based polling firm Arizona Opinion, former Congressman Salmon leads his opponents with 38.3 percent of the vote. The poll's silver medalist is former Arizona House Speaker Kirk Adams with 8.3 percent, followed by former state Senator Chuck Gray with 6.5 percent. Again, 47 percent of those polled are undecided.
According to the poll, 92 percent of those polled say they definitely plan to vote in next year's primary.
In his release, Salmon continues to tout the endorsement he received from Arpaio. As we've mentioned in several prior posts, until now -- when he's running for office and needs the endorsement of the powerful sheriff -- Salmon's been no fan of Arpaio's.
The pair, despite both being Republicans, have been political enemies since Arpaio cozied up to former Governor Janet Napolitano when Salmon ran against her in the 2002 governor's race.
Salmon even chaired the campaign of W. Steve Martin when he challenged Arpaio in the 2004 sheriff's race.
As recently as 2005, Salmon's bashed the sheriff, saying, "I don't respect [Arpaio]. I don't think he's playing with a full deck."
He then compared him to Mayberry's bumbling top deputy, Barney Fife.
See more Arpaio bashing -- courtesy of Salmon -- here.
However, now that he's running for office and could use the sheriff -- and his tough talk on immigration -- to his advantage, Salmon says the following about Arpaio:
"Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been a tireless advocate for the safety of Maricopa County citizens for almost two decades," Salmon says -- now that he's running for Congress. "He understands how important it is to protect our national borders against illegal immigration and he knows I will make that a top priority in Washington. I am grateful for his confidence in my ability to represent the best interests of our communities."
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Again, that statement comes after Salmon's said he has no respect for Arpaio, doesn't like Arpaio, says Arpaio's not "playing with a full deck," and comparing the sheriff to TV's Barney Fife.
Take our online poll about whether Salmon's cowered to Arizona politics -- and Arpaio -- here,
Salmon's campaign spokesman Adam Deguire has refused to respond to New Times' multiple requests for an explanation of the switcheroo.
If you'd also like an explanation as to why a Congressional candidate, who once said he had no respect for Joe Arpaio, would now refer to the sheriff as a "tireless advocate for the safety of Maricopa County citizens for almost two decades" now that he's running for Congress, e-mail Deguire at Adam@SalmonforCongress.com.