This race has been seen as a Republican sandlot. Given the candidates this time around, the playground may be the most apt metaphor for this race.
Bill Kolender decided to retire and circumvent the will of the people and the political process by giving a leg up to his Undersheriff William Gore. In making Gore his replacement, Kolender placed him in a good, not great, position to win. That beacon of democracy, the County Board of Supervisors (5-0 Republican) which is not above manipulation for personal gain (Horn), avoiding taking tough stands lest they lose their job (Jacob) or just unable to gain employment anywhere else (Roberts), voted unanimously to coronate Gore’. With the endorsement of three of the five supervisors for his election prior to the vote (Horn, Slater-Price and Cox) he should be a shoo-in.
But won’t be. Unlike Gore, who appears to be wrapping himself in the badge, Duffy has been making the rounds and is building support outside of the Board of Supervisors. Endorsed by his boss, Supervisor Roberts, and assembling a decent campaign team, Duffy has the background with his stint at the Sheriff's Department and could possibly pick up the Labor endorsement given his past with the Sheriff’s Association.
All of which may be for naught. Bejarano has good name ID, has proven that he can work with both sides of the political aisle, and is enough of a moderate to pick up the missing non-Republican half of the vote in this race. He looks formidable but it remains to be seen if he can motivate the moderates to vote and drag this race out of the partisan cesspool that it has been mired in.
Otherwise, why would a termed-out legislator run for Sheriff? This tent-city business generates press for Maricopa County, AZ but little else. Given his past stands on social and political issues, I don’t perceive the advantage in having the Sheriff’s Department helmed by a throwback to the 20th Century.
Coming out of retirement to run for office is noble, but against this field Ruff needs to have the prior four candidates self destruct in order to pull out a win.
Gore has the establishment, Duffy has the Republican establishment that isn’t East County, Bejarano has the middle, and LaSuer and Ruff have East County.
A Republican sand fight. Popcorn, anyone?