FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Feeling Each Other Out; Arizona Rep. Trent Franks and Sheriff Joe Arpaio Talk Opening Senate Seat; Arpaio Would Be Impacted By "Huge Groundswell"

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has given at least a couple of interviews today (and one over the weekend to Channel 10 flirting with the possibility that he may run for the seat opening up (in January 2013) when Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) retires.  Arizona's Politics has learned that at least one other possible contender - already in Congress - thinks there might be something to it;  Rep. Trent Franks (R-CD2) called the Sheriff earlier today to ask if he was planning to run.

According to Chad Willems, Arpaio's campaign manager (for whatever he may or may not run for next year), Franks called.  He likely received the same "maybe" that Arpaio is giving to the media, because Willems indicates that Arpaio does not yet know if it would be the right thing for him to do.

Willems tells Arizona's Politics that Arpaio has a large fundraising operation, already has approximately $3 million in his re-election campaign account that could legally be transferred to a run for federal office, and has familiarity with Washington from his previous jobs there (with the DEA).  The decision will be a personal one, says Willems.

Willems gave props to the "impressive" response to the DefendSheriffJoe (independent) fundraising-to-urge-Joe-to-run; it raised nearly $20,000 (from 500+ people) in five days, which will go to more polling and fundraising.  However, Willems says it will be "interesting to see if there's a huge groundswell... that would certainly impact Arpaio's decision."

Franks' phone call to Arpaio may just be an expression of friendly interest.  Or, it may be the best indication yet that a second member of Arizona's current Congressional delegation may be ready to try to step up to the more exclusive chamber.  Rep. Jeff Flake (R-CD6) has already announced his candidacy.

By the way, the polls released today by the Summit Consulting Group that show Arpaio leading Flake and others among likely Republican primary election voters has a margin of error of 3%.  That is according to Summit President, Chad Willems.  (Yes, the same Chad Willems.)


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