Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio may have stolen Doug Ducey’s thunder in SaddleBrooke on Wednesday night.
America’s toughest sheriff, along with state Sen. Al Melvin, were there to campaign for the former Cold Stone Creamery CEO, but many in the audience seemed to be there to talk to Arpaio.
The sheriff, who at one point toyed with the idea of running for governor himself earlier this year, said that he was backing Ducey because he was a man who would keep his promises after being elected.
Ducey, he said, was a man he could shake hands on a verbal agreement.
“In the old days, you could make a promise and that was it,” Arpaio told the audience.
Ducey stuck mainly to his campaign stump speech while addressing the 80-person crowd in SaddleBrooke, focusing on his success at Cold Stone Creamery in the private sector as well as his role in turning around the state’s financial books while serving as treasurer.
During a question-and-answer segment, an audience member conceded that she was there to see Arpaio and hadn’t decided between Ducey and one of his rivals, former GoDaddy Executive Christine Jones.
The state treasurer took the question in stride, focusing his answer on his experience both as a politician as well as his success in running and growing a successful business with locations across the globe.
The topic of Jones would come up again when another man said he was disgusted by the mailers he received attacking her on a variety of subjects.
Ducey denied any role in the political attacks, saying it was untrue he worked with the independent, third party groups behind the mailers.
The Republican gubernatorial candidate also took time during the event to focus his attention on his would-be Democratic rival, Fred DuVal.
Quizzing the crowd on how candidates were running on the Democratic side of the fence, Ducey decried the lack of competition for the Democratic nomination as proof of “Chicago-style” politicking, where party leaders decide who will run for elected office rather than the voters.
A recent poll puts Ducey in the lead in the six-person race for the GOP nomination, but with less than a week before the Aug. 26 primary, many are voters telling pollsters they are still undecided.
Despite recent attacks from his Republican rivals about the ice-cream company, Ducey ended the event by saying he still wanted to be known for his time with the company and offered to discuss details with anyone who had questions afterward.