Even the liberal journalists on Horizon thought it wasn’t surprising that former County Attorney and RINO Rick Romley endorsed Democrat ACLU Tim for County Attorney. Business Journal’s Mike Sunnucks explained that it was more about Romley’s dislike for Arpaio than anything else. When Romley was County Attorney, he did not get along with Arpaio, because Romley comes from the liberal wing of the Republican Party and sides with the ACLU when it comes to crime and punishment. Romley objected to Arpaio’s tough crackdowns on criminals. So it’s not surprising that Romley is endorsing a Democrat running for County Attorney who used to work for the ACLU.
Announcing several days in advance that he would be holding a press conference to announce his endorsement of a County Attorney candidate was rather silly, and a rather see-through effort to drum up media attention for himself. It backfired on him, since according to Horizon, it gave Thomas and Arpaio time to comment on it before he even made his announcement. Romley is desperately trying to stay relevant, and has figured out by dissing Republicans he can get press coverage.
Found this post on another blog, which is over a year old now but very prescient.
Rick Romley’s Bitter Retirement
The behavior of Rick Romley since stepping down as Maricopa County Attorney has become a sad postscript to his many years in public office.
When he left the County Attorney’s Office in 2004, Romley spoke of challenging Governor Janet Napolitano for reelection in 2006 or finding some other higher calling with which to fill his retirement years. Since then, except for short-term appointments to assist the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Pinal County Attorney’s Office on certain projects, he has struggled to find productive work. Instead, he has spent much of his time trying to undermine his successor, Andrew Thomas.
Romley’s criticisms of Thomas began a little over a week after Thomas took office in 2005. In an interview with the New Times, Romley criticized Thomas’ demotion of the head of the Sex Crimes Bureau of the County Attorney’s Office (Thomas had taken issue with the soft plea bargains coming from that bureau during his campaign).
Later in 2005, Romley criticized, to numerous media outlets, Thomas’ decision not to prosecute Army Sgt. Patrick Haab. Thomas concluded Haab had performed a lawful citizen’s arrest of seven illegal immigrants at a highway rest stop.
In March 2006, in an Arizona Republic profile of Thomas, Romley was the only person quoted, other than criminal defense attorneys, who was critical of Thomas. Romley claimed Thomas had “talked about immigration, but I haven’t seen any results.” Given Thomas’ prominent role in, among other things, prosecuting illegal immigrants on human smuggling charges, this was a ludicrous claim.
For more than a year after stepping down, Romley frequently called former secretaries and other employees at the County Attorney’s Office. These conversations, unsolicited and uncomfortable to employees, sometimes turned into private criticisms of Thomas and attempts to pump former subordinates for information about office happenings.
Most recently, Romley has been lobbying and asking allies to lobby on his behalf to become the next U.S. Attorney for Arizona. Inside sources have stated Romley has little chance of gaining the position. He would likely use the office as a beachhead from which to attack both Thomas and his old rival Sheriff Joe Arpaio (relations between the County Attorney’s Office and Sheriff’s Office warmed remarkably after Romley’s departure). Romley feuded with many prominent Republicans while in office (Fife Symington, Grant Woods, Arpaio). The Bush administration and Republican leaders would seem to have little incentive to reignite those embers.
Thomas has repealed many soft plea-bargaining policies he inherited in the County Attorney’s Office for violent criminals, sex offenders and repeat offenders. He also has ended the County Attorney’s Office’s indifference to the illegal immigration problem plaguing the county. It is unfortunate that Romley fails to recognize Thomas’s achievements.
After sixteen years in office, Romley undoubtedly has found it hard to let go of his old post. Still, his bitter behavior is a sad and odd ending for a once-prominent Valley politician.