Former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, a close ally of President Donald Trump who became the face of aggressive crackdowns on illegal immigration, lost in a Republican primary race to win back his sheriff’s seat in Maricopa County — a race that he said was his last.
Arpaio lost Tuesday’s Republican primary to his former chief deputy Jerry Sheridan by roughly 6,300 votes, according to the latest count from the Maricopa County Elections Department on Saturday morning.
Sheridan will take on current Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone, a Democrat and former Phoenix police officer, who ousted Arpaio in the 2016 race.
Sheridan has promised to revive many of Arpaio’s policies, but according to The New York Times many political analysts have said Penzone is a favorite leading up to November.
Tuesday’s loss was Arpaio’s third electoral defeat in four years. After losing his 2016 re-election bid, he was subsequently defeated in a three-way Republican primary for Senate in 2018.
Arpaio told the Arizona Republic in an interview on Friday that this year’s race was “the last time I run for office.”
Arpaio made headlines nationally when he went against a court order to end immigration raids that racially profiled Latinos. In 2017, he was pardoned by Trump following a conviction of criminal contempt of court for continuing raids that targeted Latino people, The New York Times reported.
Sheridan, the winner of Tuesday’s primary, worked in the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office for 38 years — spending many of them alongside Arpaio — before he retired as chief deputy. Although was found in civil contempt in 2016 in connection with the racial profiling case, Sheridan was not charged with criminal contempt due to the statute of limitations, CNN reported.
Much like the President, Arpaio’s campaign for sheriff stoked racial division and pitched a tough on crime message, but struggled to shore up support from suburban Republican voters in a historically conservative state that some have said appears to be up for the taking in this year’s presidential election. Aside from the defeat of his ally, Trump currently trails his democratic opponent Joe Biden in the polls in Arizona.