Maricopa County Craziness

Rick Romley to Replace Andrew Thomas as New Maricopa County Attorney

We called that one.

As New Times' Paul Rubin predicted last week, former County Attorney Rick Romley got the nod from the Board of Supervisors today to replace Andrew Thomas in his old job. Thomas, of course, resigned earlier this month to run for attorney general; Romley, who held the post for 16 years before retiring in 2004, was the odds-on favorite to replace him.

And, as Rubin had predicted, the vote was 4-1, with Fulton Brock the only "no."

We heard this morning that Sheriff Joe Arpaio is threatening a lawsuit over the Romley appointment. To that, we say "Bring it on!" And, perhaps, also, "Go f*&% yourself, Joe." (Really, does anyone see any legal grounds for a lawsuit here?)

(Check out Romley's first act after he was named county attorney here. Check out Arpaio's and Thomas' reactions here and here.)

Romley is a Marine who lost both legs above the knee in the Vietnam War. A longtime Republican, he endorsed Thomas to be his successor in 2004, but quickly grew to regret that choice.

In 2008, he endorsed Thomas' opponent, Democrat Tim Nelson, saying, "I can no longer stay silent." He's worked part-time for Attorney General Terry Goddard and as a legal consultant to the Board of Supervisors during its conflicts with Thomas.

Romley was one of four finalists for the job, culled down from 11 contenders by a four-man committee. He's agreed to run for reelection in November, after which (if successful) he'll serve the remaining two years on Thomas' term.

But he'll probably face a challenger in the Republican primary. Thomas' people really wanted a prosecutor named Bill Montgomery to be chosen for the job instead; Montgomery threw his hat in the ring but wasn't recommended by the four-man advisory panel.

Montgomery already has filed papers to begin his campaign for the job. And believe us when we say Sheriff Arpaio won't be threatening any lawsuits over his candidacy.

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Sarah Fenske
Contact: Sarah Fenske