Ex-Phoenix Cop Paul Penzone Running Against Arpaio Again

By Editor April 14, 2016 07:23

By Lorin McLain

Maricopa County voters can expect another contentious campaign season in the race for sheriff. Retired Phoenix police officer Paul Penzone is going to make another attempted run to unseat Joe Arpaio in the next election. In 2012, Penzone lost to Arpaio by just six percentage points in what was the second closest election in Arpaio’s 23 years in office.

The Arpaio campaign was quick to respond to Penzone’s announcement on April 6th, promising Penzone would only be rejected by voters again. The campaign issued a statement saying, “Penzone has chosen to level petty, personal attacks against Sheriff Joe Arapaio. This is not what voters expect out of a campaign for the top law enforcement position in the country. In short, Paul Penzone lacks the character and experience necessary to be sheriff.”

The run to unseat Arpaio is not without facing a formidable canon of financial backing.  The incumbent sheriff raised well over six million dollars in the 2012 campaign, but with the vast majority of donors living outside Arizona. Arpaio has a history of traveling the country stumping for other candidates, most recently for GOP frontrunner Donald Trump. Fox News Latino reported in 2012 that less than three percent of donors to Penzone’s campaign lived outside Arizona.

This year’s election finds the 84-year-old sheriff nearing the end of his sixth term, and submerged in negative publicity over the past two years that included federal court rulings finding that his office discriminated against Latinos. However, Penzone still sits at a disadvantage running as a Democrat.

Former prison guard Joe Rodriguez announced he was running as a Democratic candidate in March; but a week after Penzone’s announcement, declared he was suspending his campaign to support Penzone. Rodriguez came under scrutiny recently when questioned about his personnel record, showing he had an inappropriate affair with a subordinate. Private investigator William Hall is also a candidate in the Democratic field.

Arpaio currently faces four other Republican challengers. They are Roger Baldwin, Mike Bodak, Marsha Hill, and former Buckeye Police Chief Dan Saban, who unsuccessfully ran against him in 2004 and 2008. Kenneth Baker is also running as an Independent.

By Editor April 14, 2016 07:23

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