A solid source tells us that if the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors were to vote today, former longtime County Attorney Rick Romley would win the nod over the other applicants to replace Andrew Thomas.
The board is waiting to hear from a so-called "citizens' committee" convened last week to make its recommendations for the interim job.
The powerful position opened up when Thomas resigned last week to officially mount a campaign run to become Arizona's Attorney General.
The board is expected to chose its replacement on or about April 16.
However, the new gig only will be guaranteed until this coming January, after voters go to the polls in November to elect a County Attorney for what would amount to a two-year term before yet another election in 2012.
We are told that at least two of the supervisors have had reservations about supporting Romley (pictured) unless he commits to seeking the full-time post in the November general election.
Romley (who served as County Attorney for 16 years before retiring in 2004) has let it be known that he would like to run the show until at least 2012.
That means he would run for the office this November 2 if the supervisors do appoint him.
The source also tells us that the current, very unofficial straw vote is 4-1 for Romley.
Though a lot could (and probably will) change between now and the official vote, get ready for quite a ride if Romley does retake the helm.
First, the obvious: Relations between Romley and Sheriff Joe Arpaio were tenuous at best when he held the post.
In fact, they were downright ugly at times, and that was years ago, before Arpaio's paranoia and hunger for power was somewhat less overt than it has become.
Naturally, we had our disagreements with old Rick during his long stretch in office. But we generally came to see him as a savvy, if imperfect politician who was smart enough to surround himself with (mostly) solid legal advisers, and who did the right thing much of the time.
We also can tell you for sure what Rick Romley is not:
A sycophantic yes-man for a bully of a sheriff (See: Joseph Arpaio) or a guy for whom the means always has justified the political and ideological end (See: Andrew Peyton Thomas).