Pinal County Attorney James Walsh is opposed for election by Republican Lando Voyles of Maricopa. Voyles is utilizing an unusual campaign team concept with Sheriff Paul Babeu.
Walsh, an Oracle resident, had a distinguished career in private practice in Phoenix, was chief deputy and a special counsel in the Arizona Attorney General’s Office and also served in the Legislature for a short time. He was appointed to fill a vacancy in the Attorney’s Office, then elected to the post four years ago. Voyles formerly was a deputy in the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, where he gained varied experience.
Despite attacks by Voyles against his record, Walsh touts statistics for his office that show solid performance. In the past fiscal year, the office charged 7.7 percent more adult felonies than in the previous year, and 41.8 percent more felonies than in 2008. The office also notified victims of 52,208 court and legal proceedings during the past fiscal year compared to 44,071 in the year before.
The office also collected more than $22 million in child support for 11,000 single-parent families. The Pinal office is one of only three in the state to collect child support instead of relying on the state. That is a very important issue in the county because of the high need by single-parent families.
We believe that Walsh has done a solid job of being the county’s top lawyer, serving the public while being a good steward of resources. He deserves another term.
Babeu for sheriff
Paul Babeu easily defeated three challengers for the Republican nomination for a second term as sheriff. This followed controversy that had hit him during a short campaign for a new congressional district seat.
Babeu and his office have been the subject of a few investigations launched over the past year. The main ones, involving abuse of power and deletion of emails, have resulted in findings of no wrongdoing. Much of the controversy surrounding Babeu seems to be related to his aggressive stance against illegal immigration. He has given that area high-profile enforcement along with a crackdown on drug smuggling through the county. Even though Pinal is not on the border, it has plenty of remote areas that smugglers favor.
Opposing Babeu are Kevin Taylor, who won the Democratic primary, and independent Ty Morgan.
It is true that Babeu has a liking for the TV cameras, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.
The sheriff has done a good job of running his department and inspiring and demanding professionalism. He has improved response times in a far-flung area and emphasized crime-prevention programs. He deserves another term.