Joe Arpaio narrowly lost his Republican primary bid to reclaim his old job as sheriff of Maricopa County.
The fiery anti-immigrant hardliner and ardent President Trump supporter was defeated by his former chief of staff and fellow conservative, Jerry Sheridan.
Sheridan will now face the Democratic Sheriff Paul Penzone in the November general election. Penzone unseated Arpaio, 88, four years ago, ending the controversial sheriff’s 24-year run in office.
Sheridan has pushed policies similar to Arpaio’s while pledging to avoid the legal trouble that beset the self-anointed “toughest sheriff” in America.
“[Arpaio] loved and lived for the media attention,” Sheridan told the local CBA affiliate earlier this week.
“I’m not a grandstander. He did a lot of things for media attention. I will do things for the betterment of the citizens of Maricopa County, and good law enforcement practices.”
Arpaio is known for detaining immigrants in outdoor tents in Arizona’s 100-degrees-plus temperatures.
He was charged with contempt of court in 2016 for having ignored a federal judge’s order to stop arresting immigrants based solely on the suspicion that they were in the country illegally.
His defiance led to frustration in his community after he knowingly took on controversial policies and racked up $147 million in legal bills that had to be paid by taxpayers.
Arpaio was convicted in July 2017 of a criminal charge for refusing a judge’s order to stop racially profiling residents and arresting immigrants who were only suspected of being undocumented.
Trump pardoned him the next month.
The loss was Arpaio’s second failed attempt to return to politics since he was unseated in 2016. He ran an unsuccessful primary bid for U.S. Senate in 2018.
He later filed a $300 million defamation lawsuit against CNN, the Huffington Post and Rolling Stone for allegedly publishing inaccuracies that hurt his chances to win a ticket to Congress.
A federal judge tossed the suit last year arguing that Arpaio failed to prove malice behind the articles.
With Post wires
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