The most popular choice for governor among Republicans is someone who isn’t running now — and may not run at all: Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. And that could be good news for the person in second place, state Treasurer Dean Martin.
The most popular choice for governor among Republicans is someone who isn’t running now — and may not run at all: Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
And that could be good news for the person in second place, state Treasurer Dean Martin.
A new telephone survey of 570 likely Republican voters shows the self-proclaimed toughest sheriff in America outpolling all of his potential competitors combined. A total of 47 percent of those asked want him for governor.
Arpaio, while insisting he has made no decision, has considered but backed away from statewide races at least twice before despite similar positive numbers.
But Martin, in an interview Tuesday with Capitol Media Services, was sounding very much like someone who is eyeing higher office.
“What I care about is making sure we win,” he said of having a Republican as the state’s chief executive. And Martin suggested that incumbent Jan Brewer, who was the choice of just 10 percent of Republicans surveyed by Rasmussen Reports, would make that impossible.
That conclusion was backed by a previous Rasmussen survey showing her nine points behind Attorney General Terry Goddard.
“I don’t want to be treasurer under Terry Goddard,” said Martin, who is eligible to run for re-election for another four-year term in his current post.
“It’s very compelling that I should look at the race,” he said of the poll results, repeating his stance that it’s not about personal glory. “My interest is more that we should win than anything else.”
Whether Martin could defeat Goddard, however, remains an open question: The earlier Rasmussen survey had the pair in a virtual dead heat.
“It’s early,” he said. “There’s a lot that can happen between now and then if I were to get into that race.”
While insisting he has made no decision, Martin made the case for why he would be the best choice for governor.
“My interest is making sure the state has leadership, making sure the state can pay its bills, and making sure that nobody makes this mess worse,” he said. If he were governor, Martin said, he would not need to convince anyone to change state spending policies. “We could actually make them.”
Martin acknowledged Arpaio’s positive numbers, both among Republicans and voters as a whole. But he said those are based on how the sheriff is performing his current job.
“It shows that people like it when you do your job well,” Martin said. “Whether that translates to another race or not, I don’t know.”
Arpaio said his positive numbers are not surprising.
“I don’t want to be egotistical,” he told Capitol Media Services. “But I knew where the results would come out.”
But Arpaio, who was re-elected in 2008 to another four-year term and would have to resign to run for governor next year, was not making any commitments.
“I have the capability of raising the big bucks (for a campaign) very easily if I ever decided to run for governor,” he said. And Arpaio said that, given his high name identification, he would not need to make a decision until next spring. The deadline for filing nominating petitions is May 26.
Arpaio has toyed with the idea at least twice before, backing away each time. The sheriff said that given he is now 77, it is now or never.
“This will be my last hurrah if I wanted to address those problems” the state has, he said.
The survey of Republicans, conducted earlier this month, has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.