Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu considering run for House

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Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu By Catherine Holland Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu By Catherine Holland

SAN TAN VALLEY, Ariz. -- Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu has announced the formation of an exploratory committee for Congressional District 4.

In a news release, the first-term sheriff says he believes the real deficit in Washington is one of leadership.

"Almost three years after the $800 billion stimulus disaster, nearly one in ten Americans is unemployed," Babeu said in a media release. "In some of our communities, that number is more than double.

He also called Arizona "ground zero in the fight against drug and human smuggling."

"It's clear that Washington is broken," Babeu continued in the media release. "To fix it we'll need leaders unafraid to make tough decisions, leaders more worried about the next generation than the next election.

"I believe it may be time for a new Sheriff in Washington."

Babeu is a retired major in the United State Army National Guard and served a tour of duty in Iraq in addition to a 16-month deployment in Arizona along the border with Mexico.

"I've commanded soldiers on our border," Babeu told 3TV's Scott Pasmore. "We've reduced illegal immigration in the Yuma sector by 96 percent. I know a little bit more about border security than [Secretary of Homeland Security] Janet Napolitano."

"In absence of full action by the federal government, we're bring the fight to the cartels," he continued, talking about the practice of luring American teens to act as drug mules for the cartels. "This is what we're fighting and it's here in our state."

After graduation from Arizona Law Enforcement Academy, Babeu started his law-enforcement career as a police officer in Chandler. He took over as the sheriff of Pinal County after a landslide win in the 2008 election. He was the first Republican elected in the county's history.

The National Sheriff's Associated selected Babeu as America's 2011 Sheriff of the Year.

Babeu's spokesman says the sheriff will decided whether he will run for Congress early next year.

Based on the draft map adopted on Oct. 3 by the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, Congressional District 4 would encompass most of Yavapai County, all of Mohave and La Paz counties, and parts of Gila, Pinal and Yuma counties.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.