Joe Arpaio’s nearly 24-year tenure as the controversial sheriff of Arizona’s Maricopa County ended in defeat yesterday (November 8). The lawman, who endeared himself to President-Elect Donald Trump with his hardline anti-immigrantion stance, lost his re-election bid to Democratic former Phoenix police sergeant Paul Penzone.
Arpaio’s defeat came on the heels of sustained action by immigrant justice and advocacy groups. ”Do not count out the people that Arpaio spent his career targeting,” read a statement from the Bazta Arpaio campaign, which was emailed to media outlets. “Now Maricopa County has the opportunity to turn a page on a shameful and pain-filled history. We need space to heal, to undo the culture and structure’s Arpaio built, and to repair the damage he’s done.”
The contest between Arpaio and Penzone drew major backers, including philanthropist George Soros, who donated $2 million to Maricopa Strong, a PAC that mobilized to push out the sheriff. Arpaio’s campaign raised $12.7 million.
*Note: Article updated to reflect the correct recipient of Soros’ donation.