Freshman Rep. Paul Gosar’s (R-AZ-1) re-election chances improved at the end of last week when Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu (R) announced that he is ending his AZ-4 congressional campaign and will instead seek re-election as sheriff. Gosar, originally elected in the 1st District, decided to run in AZ-4 despite only representing 34 percent of the constituency because of the new seat’s strong Republican voting trends.
Babeu was embroiled in controversy earlier in the year when a male former lover accused the sheriff of attempting to use his official position to have him deported. With obvious negative ramifications being heaped upon his congressional campaign as a result, Babeu finally decided to throw in the towel.
Originally thought to be an underdog to Babeu before the controversy struck, Gosar now has to be considered the favorite to capture the Republican nomination. AZ-4 is rated as safe Republican for the general election.