PHOENIX — Randy Kaufman, a Republican candidate for the Maricopa County Community College Governing Board, suspended his campaign Tuesday after media reports of his arrest Oct. 4 on a charge of public sexual indecency.
Editor's note: The following story contains graphic details and may not be suitable for all audiences.
Kaufman was seen masturbating in his pickup truck in the parking lot of the community college district's Rio Salado Lifelong Learning Center in Surprise, according to a police report by the Maricopa County Community College Police.
"(Kaufman) appeared to be looking at a cell phone in one hand. I immediately became alarmed as I saw (he) had his pants down mid-thigh..." the police report says.
The arresting officer says he saw someone bicycling just eight feet away and preschool children playing outdoors at a nearby childcare center.
Kaufman told the officer: "I f---ed up. I'm really stressed."
The police report says the case has been referred to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office for a charging decision.
12News has learned that Kaufman could face a possible felony charge because of his proximity to a childcare center.
In a statement to 12News, Kaufman said Tuesday he was suspending his campaign for the governing board due to a "personal legal matter."
"I am sincerely grateful for the supporters and friends I have gathered throughout the campaign," Kaufman said. "I will never stop fighting to protect the United States Constitution and the values that make America the greatest country in the world."
The Maricopa County Elections Department has not received an official Statement of Withdrawal from Kaufman. Without the signed and notarized document, he is still an active candidate, and his votes will be counted.
A department spokeswoman said that even if Kaufman filed an official Statement of Withdrawal, it would be too late to take his name off the ballot.
Kaufman is a first-time candidate and Trump supporter. On his Facebook page, he promotes the lie that the 2020 election was stolen.
Kaufman worked as a corrections officer with the Arizona Department of Corrections for 27 years.
According to the police report, the arresting officer asked Kaufman whether he knew where he was:
Ofc. -When you look around here what do you see?
Kaufman - The child center but I didn’t notice it until you came up and I got out of my truck. Are you going to put that in a report?
Ofc. - Don’t you see how alarming that is? That there are children nearby, people passing on bikes and In cars where they can look and see what you are doing?
Kaufman - I f--ed up.
Ofc. - Why are you here in this parking lot, what brings you down here?
Kaufman - I live in Buckeye, but I came out here to buy rebar nearby, I was stressed and just pulled into the lot.
Ofc. - Do you know that what you were doing is an offense?
Kaufman - Yes I do.
Kaufman was endorsed by the Maricopa County Colleges Police Officers Association, the union at the police agency that arrested him.
According to the police report, Kaufman wanted the arresting officer to know that he knew the union president, Jim Hill.
Kaufman - Can I say something off the record?
Ofc. - Ok. You can, go ahead and tell me.
Kaufman - I know Officer Jim Hill; he works with you guys ... and ... I'm running for the Governing Board for the colleges.
Kaufman faces Democratic State Rep. Kelli Butler in the Nov. 8 election for an open seat on the community college board. Early voting in the election started Oct. 12.
Butler issued this statement:
The community college district is one of the largest in the country, serving 220,000 students a year.
The community college district declined to comment, because of pending litigation.
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