Gov candidate cozies up to Arpiao with a song

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- She's got her sights set on running Arizona, but Christine Jones is talking about Texas.

The former executive spoke about the Lone Star state Wednesday night during a Sheriff Joe Arpaio charity event in downtown Phoenix.

"It turns out that (Arpaio) does a lot of cool stuff that nobody knows about. Do you know this guy goes down into the desert and puts out water so people won't die coming across the Rio Grande," Jones said Wednesday night.

Officials with the sheriff's office say they're unaware of Arpaio ever taking water into the Arizona desert or into Texas to aid immigrants crossing illegally into this country.

While it appears she misspoke, her comments do underscore this point about the Jones campaign: As she angles for the 2014 Republican nomination for governor, she is seeking a close alliance with the Maricopa County lawman.

"So I very much respect the way that you have led with integrity and honesty and should I be fortunate enough to be governor while you're the sheriff I hope that you and we will continue that tradition together," Jones told Arpaio in front of a crowded room Wednesday night.

Arpaio was holding a fundraiser for his animal rescue charity at the Stand Up Comedy club. During the evening, Jones was one of several to step on stage. Others included an Elvis impersonator who sang a duet with Arpaio.

But Arpaio wasn't the only one busting out the pipes. Jones followed up with a song of her own, covering a tune from the musical Wicked.

As the only woman in the governor’s race who reportedly has deep pockets, Jones is being taken very seriously as someone who can compete for the state’s top office next year.

Jones identifies herself as a strong conservative. When 3TV spoke with her Thursday she said she was proud to align herself with Arpaio despite the political baggage that can come along.

Over the years Arpaio’s hard line immigration tactics have stoked outrage from immigration activists. In particular his immigration sweeps, in which deputies stop drivers for minor traffic violations and check their citizenship status, has grabbed national media attention.

But when 3TV asked Jones if she supported the sweeps, the candidate for governor said she wasn’t familiar with the highly publicized immigration tactic.

“I honestly don't know about somebody pulling somebody over or targeting particular people,” said Jones, who has lived in Arizona since 1997.