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Sheriff Paul Babeu and Tom O'Halleran face off for AZ District One

Posted at 9:34 AM, Nov 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-01 14:17:53-04
One of the country's biggest battleground district's is up for grabs with an open seat. Arizona's District One covers the most land in the state. With incumbent Representative Ann Kirkpatrick running for senate, the spot will soon be in the hands of Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu or former Arizona lawmaker Tom O'Halleran.
 
The candidates met for their first debate in late September.
 
"We increased the budget so we could invest in the economy of Arizona, in our universities and our schools," said O'Halleran. "We made sure child protection services was fully funded."
 
Babeu: "We got $20 trillion in debt, and it has compromised our economic future," said Babeu. "That's gotta stop. We need a better way. We have to limit our spending set priorities."
 
The republican nominee stands strong on O'Halleran's previous decisions in the legislature and his transition between parties. 
 
"My opponent was a republican and got fired from his job as a legislator 8 years ago because he was a part of voting for 4 billion dollars over budget," said Babeu. "We had the highest debt per capita of any state in the nation. My opponent is the guy who voted for these things so the voters fired him rightly, and so he ran as an independent trying to get his job back and they didn't hire him again. Then, the week he said he's gonna run for congress he becomes a democrat."
 
O'Halleran says he had Arizona's future in mind when making those decisions.
 
"A lot of area where we disagreed on, basically because he was trying to get a point across that my record in the legislature was one of spending," said O'Halleran."When in reality is was a time when we had growth in our population of a million people when I was in the legislature, costs go up. We had to improve the school systems of the area, costs go up and we had a backlog of maintenance at our schools of over 2 million dollars. And plus, we cut taxes and those taxes go on to the process as budget enhancements and increases, not budget cuts. So, there's a reason why we did what we did, to invest in Arizona's future and our children's future and the opportunity for them to be successful in the future."
 
The sheriff also believes O'Halleran is inconsistent in the issues he supports.
 
"He's changed on all of his views," said Babeu. "He has gone from being a second amendment protector to now wanting all of these restrictions on guns. He's gone from, and probably the only guy in the state of Arizona who has gone from opposing to Obamacare to now embracing it and defending it in this debate."
 
In an earlier interview with O'Halleran before the primary, he addressed his change in parties and insists the voters can still trust his platform. '
 
"My message to them is, I'm Tom O'Halleran and I'm who I am then and now. I had my problems with the republican party then because they felt that I was too moderate. I worked with the democrats on a continual basis. They know who I am. All these people I've worked with in the past and all of these people support my candidacy because they know my values haven't changed."