Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu dropped out of his Congressional race early this morning and plans instead to run for re-election as sheriff -- despite recent assurances by his camp that he planned to continue his Fourth District run.
Babeu would have us believe that his decision has nothing to do with the polls that show he has no chance of winning the Congressional seat. And he wants us to believe that it has nothing to do with his campaign contributions for Congress all but drying up.
Instead, he insists that his decision is based on personnel issues within the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.
Babeu explains that his decision comes on the heels of a ruling by the Office of Special Counsel, a federal agency which has also been investigating Babeu and members of his office for unlawfully politicking on the job.
"The federal Office of Special Counsel has advised Chief Henry that because our office receives federal funds and Steve supervises those who are in control of federal funds, he is not able to run for Sheriff while serving as our Chief Deputy," Babeu posted on his campaign website."Chief Henry was left three choices, resign his position as Chief Deputy and run for Sheriff, withdraw his candidacy for Sheriff or transfer to a non-leadership position within our office where he would not supervise anybody who handles any federal funding," Babeu continues. "Forget the politics, none of these options are good to maintain the continued success of our Sheriff's Office."
Babeu had been staunchly backing PCSO Chief Deputy Steve Henry in his bid for sheriff.
It's noteworthy that Babeu's announcement comes after his campaign manager and attorney Chris DeRose denied rumors that Babeu was going to end his Congressional campaign.
But neither Babeu nor his staff are known for being straight with the public.
"I've never turned away from a fight," he told the local Fox station, as he confirmed that he is running away from, well, a fight.
And winning a seat in Congress amid abuse-of-power allegations coming from his Mexican ex-boyfriend, the revelation that he was at the helm of a Massachusetts school for troubled teens that was rife with sexual and physical abuses cases, and the allegations that he was in a relationship with a young man from that school would have been nothing short of a colossal fight for the embattled sheriff.
Read: his Congressional campaign was toast.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
He continues to paint himself as a hero who has battled with armed gunmen and who solely brought down a part of a Sinaloan drug cartel -- failing, of course, to give credit to a multitude of federal partners in that operation.
As insiders predicted, Babeu says now he is running for for reelection to "fulfill [his] promise" to voters -- and if Henry isn't running, then, Babeu had to step in and save the day.
Watch Babeu blather his usual propaganda, in which he mostly blames his and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's troubles on the Obama administration, during an interview with AZFamily.com: