Congressman Rick Renzi joined Republicans at Rumsey Park for a mini-rally after the rodeo parade Saturday.
Candidates for both state and county offices were on hand at the picnic, hosted by Sylvia Allen, Sam Brewer, Linda O'Dell and Kim Pound.
Allen is running for the Arizona House seat for Legislative Dist. 5, Brewer is seeking election as Gila County Constable for the Payson Region, O'Dell is making a bid for Gila County School Superintendent, and Pound is in the race for Gila County Sheriff.
Renzi told the crowd his opponent, Democrat Paul Babbitt, is being supported by groups favoring same-sex marriage, partial birth abortion and the sugar industry. He said the sugar industry put money into Babbitt's campaign war chest because his brother, former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt, was owed a favor by the sugar lobby and he called it in to help the congressional candidate.
"This is the kind of politics we have to be prepared for," Renzi said. "Look for outside money to start coming in from the Democrats. We're at a crossroads. We need good strong candidates. Turn out for the primary and support our local candidates and support our president in the general election in November."
Allen is a resident of the Heber-Overgaard area.
"I am running for families," she said. "I watched 11 sawmills close in the 1990s. We don't want another Babbitt in Washington."
Brewer has lived in the Payson area for more than 30 years and served with the Gila County Sheriff's Office for seven-and-a-half years.
"We need a new county school superintendent in Gila County," O'Dell said. "Students are not getting the education they deserve. Students are leaving because they're not being adequately and appropriately served."
Pound has more than 20 years of service in law enforcement.
Also attending the rally were the three Republicans seeking election to the office of Dist. 1 Gila County Supervisor -- Dan Haapala, Tommie Cline Martin and Gene Mawby.
Gail Palmateer, who is opposing Brewer for the Republican nomination for Payson area constable, also attended, but was asked not to campaign as Brewer, Allen, O'Dell and Pound had paid for the event. However, she was not asked to leave, according to Mayor Barbara Brewer, wife of Sam Brewer.
"She was invited to attend as a citizen when Sylvia Allen and Linda O'Dell invited everyone at the Republican Women's Club to come," the mayor said. "She came and put her brochures out. I handed her back her brochures and asked her not to campaign since it was Sam's event. She stayed and talked to everyone and gave them her brochure, then left."
Palmateer said she was asked not to hand out her campaign materials, but was not asked to leave.
"I guess I understand it," she said. "The approach was a little rough. If there was a problem, I wish the candidate would have said something. There are no hard feelings, but the approach could have been a little more delicate."