Maricopa County Sheriff Arpaio, 80, known nationally for his immigration sweeps is facing his toughest race in 20 years. But he remains a popular politician.
America’s Voice, a national group that supports comprehensive immigration reform, is investing part of an $80,000 advertising fund in anti-Arpaio ads scheduled to start running this Monday.
Leading in Polls
The popular and brash Arpaio—despite facing several legal actions for his conduct and management of the sheriff’s office—was trailing his nearest challenger, Democrat Paul Penzone, by from six to14 points in recent polls.
Penzone’s supporters are concerned that Independent candidate Mike Stauffer, who has about three-percent support in most polls, could split the anti-Arpaio vote.
Arpaio has a campaign war chest much larger than his opponents and has received over $8 million in donations during this campaign cycle. As of the end of September he still had about half of that amount. Most of the contributions he’s received come from out-of-state contributors, the majority of them in California.
So far his campaign has spent over $700,000 for television ads. Some have focused on Arpaio’s character and his signature as the “toughest” sheriff in America.” One ad featuring Arpaio wrapping his arm around an inmate and holding pets. But the most recent ads attack Penzone, his strongest opponent.
The Arpaio campaign’s new spot focuses on a nine-year-old police report accusing Penzone of domestic violence after he had an argument with his former wife. Both parties had minor injuries, and Penzone was listed as the victim by the Glendale Police Department. No charges were filed.
Arpaio is facing growing opposition on the home front from a number of grassroots campaigns to oust him. Under the banner of “Adios, Arpaio” (“Goodbye, Arpaio”), Campaign for Arizona Future, has added over 34,000 new Latino voters to the rolls.
The campaign is organized by immigrant-advocacy group Promesa Arizona in Action and the Unite Here union, which represents many service workers. With support from the AFL-CIO and Unite Here the campaign has been infused with $500,000.
Online groups working with social media such as People Against Sheriff Joe Arpaio, have created their own ads as well. Anti-Arpaio activist Devin Fleenor launched a campaign to place an ad featuring Arpaio’s role in his agency’s failing to investigation over 400 sexual crimes involving minors.
In spite of his popularity as a no-nonsense crime fighter, Arpaio’s mishandling of the child-abuse cases, and his recent “birther” investigation into President Barack Obama birth certificate put a dent in his support even among some conservative Republican voters. A political action committee, Citizens for Professional Law-Enforcement, was formed recently aiming to capitalize on those issues to defeat the sheriff on Nov. 6.
The group has a series of ads in public and cable TV, focusing on these issues. One of them features a press conference in which Arpaio apologized to the victims of sex crimes. The spot turns his words during the press conference against him, as he states, “If there were any victims out there, I apologize to those victims–if there were any.”
ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE: Arizona Campaign Builds Against “America’s Toughest Sheriff”.