Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has endorsed so many candidates in this year's election that he can't keep them all straight (dementia must be setting in) -- which might be the reason he claims he mistakenly endorsed two candidates who are running against each other.
On the Sonoran Alliance Web site today, Arpaio claims he mistakenly endorsed a candidate in the District 6 state Senate race, withdrew the endorsement of that candidate, and now "100 percent" supports his opponent.
That candidate, David Braswell, however, tells New Times Arpaio is still supporting his candidacy, despite the statement published by Sonoran Alliance.
Braswell says the direct quote from Arpaio is "completely false" and that the sheriff now supports both candidates.
"I talked to [Arpaio] an hour ago, and he told me he never withdraws an endorsement," Braswell says. "This is political game-playing is what this is."
Arpaio may have told Braswell he never withdraws an endorsement, but the statement Arpaio provided Sonoran Alliance tells a different story. Check it out in its entirety below (all sic).
"I want to take this opportunity to clear up where I stand in the race for State Senate in LD6. Upon further reflection on the two candidates runnning for the Republican nomination, I am 100% behind Lori Klein and have proudly endorsed her election effort. I mistakenly endorsed David Braswell for the office as well, but I've done my homework and Lori is a fighter, a conservative, and someone who will do the right thing in the face of tremendous pressure. You know, politics ain't bean bag, and voters have had enough of politicians who do the right thing or cast the right vote only after they run out of other options. Our efforts to make Arizona great, fight crime, and stop illegal immigration are not served by politicians who have to be kicked and dragged to do the right thing. Lori Klein has the backbone we need and I urge every voter in her district to support her and vote for her."
Braswell was so certain Arpaio was still in his corner that he refered us to his campaign manager, Chad Willems -- who also handles Arpaio's campaigns -- who he says will confirm that the sheriff was now backing both candidates.
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Willems (ahem...) did not return our call for comment this morning.
It seems like Arpaio just didn't realize he was supporting two people who are running for the same office. He's an old man (ya know?) who pretty much gets handled by his well-paid-at-taxpayer-expense PR machine.
UPDATE: Chad Willems, campaign manager for both Arpaio and Braswell returned our call and issued us the following statement from Arpaio: "Once I endorse someone for public office I stand by it. I have endorsed Senator David Braswell for his election and remain committed to supporting him," Arpaio says.
Willems also says the quote used in the release on the Sonoran Alliance Web site was not made by Arpaio and the sheriff has no idea where it could have come from, which is why he wanted to "set the record straight" with a press release of his own.