After unexpected defeat, Sheriff Joe Arpaio joins with Larry Klayman launch fund to help 'defunded' police

Arizona has turned a page on history.  Sheriff Joe Arpaio, 88, has run his last political race.  On August 4, 2020, voters in Maricopa County cast their vote in the Republican primary that saw the former six-term sheriff and national law enforcement celebrity, in a battle with his former chief deputy, Jerry Sheridan, lose by one point.  The master politician, who for 24 years sat upon a powder keg of crime and punishment, illegal immigration, demonstrations, pink underwear, and a Tent City Jail in the scorching sun of the Sonoran Desert.  Why would a man who was born on Flag Day in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1932 still be out pounding the pavement in 118-degree heat?  That was Joe Arpaio.  Love him or hate him, he was going to make news.

This time around, he did not.  Despite his best efforts to generate "press," the local Phoenix-area media would not cover him.  Many of his faithful supporters did not even know he was running. 

Sheridan got out of the gate early, building a base in the Republican strongholds by meeting and greeting those who, day in and day out, seek to keep Arizona in the "red" column.  When Arpaio lost in 2016 to a George Soros–backed former sergeant in the Phoenix Police Department, Paul Penzone (who tried to take out Arpaio in 2012 sans Soros and failed), many thought Arizona was now a "purple" haven on the national scorecard.

Sheriff Joe campaigning for Trump in 2016.

However, in 2016, Maricopa County was the county that granted Donald Trump the most votes of any county on Election Day.  Oddly enough, it was Arpaio who stood with Trump in Phoenix in July 2015 and declared that "a silent majority" would propel the New York firebrand into the White House.  Arpaio entered the race a bit late: "On this day, August 25, 2019, after consultation and approval from my wife of 61 years, Ava, I have decided to run to be re-elected Sheriff," said Sheriff Arpaio.  "Watch out, world!  We are back!"  When he reached out to his extensive list of followers on social media, Arpaio quickly took the lead in fundraising and made Penzone's camp nervous as he spewed out fundraising letters warning of the second coming of Arpaio.

So what happened?  Arpaio had never lost a Republican primary.  It never crossed his mind he would lose this one.  The bulk of his money sat in the bank awaiting the general election war against the man who robbed him of his legacy.  He always wanted to go out on his own terms.  Many times, he joked about being sheriff from a wheelchair like "Ironside."  But years of legal action, leading to a conviction for Arpaio in federal court, and millions of dollars in lawsuits over the years took their toll in that 2016 election, and he lost big.  President Trump famously pardoned Arpaio, but he could not resurrect his career.  Arpaio campaigned hard enough — he had a massive tour bus wrapped with his image and that of the president — declaring he was going to "Make Maricopa County Safe Again!"  But the bus did not take him far enough down the road.  When he wore out his soles in the Arizona sun, no one took notice.  When a typical voter was asked about Arpaio, he knew only that Arpaio was "old and past his time."  In the end, the perception was the reality.  Sheridan is now in the driver's seat, and his battle to remove the Democrat Penzone is an uphill one.  You see, Sheridan did spend all his money to get past Arpaio.

What now for "America's Toughest Sheriff," as Arpaio was touted to be, now that the sun has finally set on this modern-day Western gunslinger?  He just this week teamed up with attorney Larry Klayman in forming a public interest 501(c)(3) foundation called "Americas Sheriffs" that is designed to aid law enforcement agencies in the U.S. facing cuts to their budgets as Democrats around the country call for the "defunding of the police."  For more information and to support and enlist in "America's Sheriffs," go to or contact or (424) 274 2579.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

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