Iowe the first Republican sheriff elected in Pinal County an apology. Last year I wrote an article about James McGee being the first Republican sheriff elected in Pinal County (1906). I pointed out that Sheriff Paul Babeu or his public information people had been claiming he was the first Republican elected in the history of Pinal County (founded 1875) on the Pinal County Government website and during his re-election campaign. Sheriff Babeu was nice enough to remove the statement from the Pinal County Sheriff Department website. Since then while doing research for some historical articles, I discovered that I made a mistake. I will admit I was wrong and should have done more research. James McGee was not the first Republican Sheriff elected in Pinal County. Yes, he was a Republican just not the first.
It turns out that there were two other Republican sheriffs in Pinal County during territorial days. They were L.K. Drais (1892-1893) and A.J. Doran (1883-1884). There were at least a dozen or more Republicans elected to Pinal County positions including treasurer and supervisor. Two lived along the Copper Corridor, E.O. Stratton of American Flag, owner of the Inter-Ocean Ranch and E.W. Childs a merchant in Mammoth. In 1894 alone, the Republicans swept the election except for the office of sheriff. That would make Sheriff Paul far from the first Republican elected in the history of Pinal County, yet the Paul Babeu for Sheriff Committee continues to propagate this falsehood while collecting campaign donations from around the country on their website www.sheriffpaul.com.
It turns out that Andrew James “A.J.” Doran was the first Republican sheriff of Pinal County. Doran is mentioned on the Pinal County Government website but only as one of the contractors that built the second courthouse in Florence in 1890-91. This court house still stands today. Doran was one of the most prominent pioneers of Arizona, first in the Florence area and then in Prescott. Maybe they can add first Republican sheriff to his history on the Pinal County website.