Arpaio helps candidate at OV fundraiser
Randy Metcalf/Explorer, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio talks with reporters at the Oro Valley Country Club last Thursday. He was there in support of Republican Congressional hopeful Jesse Kelly, left, who was holding a fundraiser.

A major figure in Arizona politics was in Oro Valley last week, speaking at a political fundraiser.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the Republican who is a force on the state and national levels, met supporters and the media at a private fundraiser event last Thursday at the Oro Valley Country Club for U.S. Congress hopeful Jesse Kelly.

Immigration was the topic during a brief question-and-answer period. Arpaio poked fun at the recent commitment from the Obama Administration to send 1,200 troops to the border with Mexico.

"I could send 1,000 of my posse members to the border," Arpaio said.

The sheriff said he supports the military, but doesn't support sending members of the armed forces to police the border. Kelly agreed, saying he wants the federal government to enforce existing immigration laws and to hire more Border Patrol.

"I'm not for sending armies, I'm for law enforcement," Kelly said.

Kelly also took a shot at the incumbent he hopes to square off against in the general election, saying Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had "politicized" the border issue.

"I'm not one of those politicians who've spent my entire career talking out of both sides of my face," Kelly said.

Kelly is one of five candidates in the primary race for the Republican nomination for Congressional District 8. The others are Brian Miller, Andy Goss, Thomas A. Carlson and State Sen. Jonathan Paton.

According to campaign finance reports at the website opensecrets.org, Kelly trails Paton in fundraising. Paton has raised $505,250, while Kelly has banked $367,331. Miller has $139,629, while Goss and Carlson have each raised less than $10,000.

Giffords leads all with $1.682 million raised.

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