Arizona border sheriff mulls congressional bid

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Pinal County, Ariz., Sheriff Paul Babeu thinks “it may be time for a new sheriff in Washington,” and that he could be the guy for the job.

The border sheriff announced the formation of an exploratory committee to examine interest in a possible bid for Arizona’s newly formed 4th District, Monday. Babeu, a Republican, told TheDC he will make his final decision on a run for the U.S. House of Representatives in January.

“I want to see if we in fact have that support from the citizens of my state, and do they want a sheriff to go to Washington and represent our state in Congress. So that is going to be the overriding issue, and once I see that support, come January I’ll make a decision based on that,” Babeu said, explaining that he is not campaigning yet, but that people already know he is a guy who speaks his mind. “People already know that I’m not afraid to state my opinions and stand up for my beliefs. And … what we lack in Washington is leadership — people who actually do what they say they’re going to do, and I’ve done that for my entire term as sheriff.”

Babeu earned national attention for his defense of the Arizona crackdown on illegal immigration with the SB 1070 law, and his outspoken fight for transparency in the Fast and Furious scandal,  most recently calling for the resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder for overseeing the gun-running operation.

“Nobody is above the law: Eric Holder is not above the law, President Barack Obama is not above the law,” Babeu told Shannon Bream on Fox News earlier this month. “We don’t have a king here and we need these people held accountable … Absolutely [Holder] should be fired. He should resign if he had the honor in his office, because he is the man in charge.”

Babeu told TheDC that if he runs he will take his hard-fighting attitude to Congress, but his agenda will not just be relegated to the border and law enforcement. Although that will be a large part, he explains that he wants to help solve the country’s economic problems.

“There are communities in my county that are 21 percent unemployed. That is unacceptable. The solution we’re getting from Washington is more stimulus money and higher taxes,” he said. “And I know that’s the wrong answer. I know that will choke out an already gasping economy.”

If Babeu does decide to run, his law enforcement background and knowledge of the border will likely play a large roll in his campaign. This year Babeu was voted by his peers as “America’s Sheriff of the Year,” and as a police officer he was awarded two medals for saving lives. His website points out that as a retired major in the Army National Guard, he served a tour of duty in Iraq and commanded a multi-agency law enforcement task force that reduced illegal border crossings by 94 percent.

In line with gauging support for a run, Babeu has launched a website asking Arizona citizens, “Will you support me for Congress?”

“What do you think?” he asks on the site. “If I run for Congress, you can be sure that Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama and the liberal fundraising juggernaut led by George Soros will do everything they can to stop us. They’ll spend whatever it takes.”

Since the state has been redistricted, there is no incumbent for the 4th District and the field is currently wide open, but is expected to lean Republican.

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