PHOENIX -- It was the toughest re-election battle he’s ever faced, but Sheriff Joe Arpaio won a sixth term as the top lawman in Maricopa County, Arizona.
Despite his lowest-ever approval ratings and poll numbers, bruising scandals, and a huge volunteer effort to oust him, Joe Arpaio was re-elected as Maricopa County Sheriff. And the 80-year-old Republican made it clear Tuesday that he has no intention of going anywhere anytime soon.
"For those critics out there, I’m going to say right now: in January, I’m signing up for 2016, so I’m not a lame duck. So I’m saying that right now," Arpaio exclaimed.
Arpaio defeated retired Phoenix Police Sergeant Paul Penzone, a Democrat, and retired Scottsdale Police Lieutenant Mike Stauffer, an Independent. Anti-Arpaio activists accused Stauffer of being a sham and fretted that he would siphon votes from the Democrat and help Arpaio win.
But with most precincts reporting, Arpaio’s lead was comfortable enough that the third candidate wouldn’t have changed the outcome.
Penzone, benefited from a huge ground campaign, largely made up of activists who wanted to oust Arpaio over his stances on immigration and treatment of Latinos. Campaigns like Adios Arpaio registered thousands of voters and engaged in huge get out the vote efforts for Penzone.
But even after the Democrat lost, Phoenix City Councilman Daniel Valenzuela says the activists' work was worthwhile.
"It depends on what you consider a victory. Many, many voters have voted for the very first time, and many of them were Latinos," Valenzuela said. "So to say that Latinos didn't come through this time, and to put Paul Penzone's loss solely on the shoulders of Latino voters would be unfair."
Valenzuela said Maricopa County just wasn't ready to elect Penzone.