Babeu drops out of congressional race, will run again for Pinal County Sheriff

May 11, 2012

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu today ended his bid for Congress. As KJZZ’s Dennis Lambert reports from Phoenix, Babeu will run for re-election as sheriff instead.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu (Photo courtesy Pinal County Sherrif's Office)

DENNIS LAMBERT: The sheriff says he's running for re-election to continue the programs he began four years ago, and because of problems with the candidacy of the man he wanted to replace him, his Chief Deputy Steve Henry.

PAUL BABEU: We were notified just recently that he had to make a decision today either to resign from chief deputy, to run, or to pull out of the race, today.

LAMBERT: Babeu says the federal government was refusing to allow Henry to both supervise federal funds in the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office and run for sheriff. There have been reports Babeu's fundraising efforts took a hit in the wake of the controversy surrounding his announcement earlier this year that he is gay. Babeu made that announcement after reports surfaced that he had tried to have a former boyfriend deported. The sheriff denies funding was a problem, saying he raised more money in his 4th District congressional bid than either of his opponents.  If he’s re-elected as sheriff, Babeu says he plans to continue to battle drug trafficking in the county,

BABEU: Clearly there’s a disconnect with the federal government enforcing the law, doing their job and what we’re doing on the ground. I have to protect the families of my county, even in the absence of the federal government.

LAMBERT: Babeu’s exit from the primary leaves Lake Havasu Republican Senator Ron Gould and 1st District Congressman Paul Gosar to fight it out for the GOP nomination.

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