Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is facing his toughest re-election race in his 20-year tenure and a group of young Latinos in Arizona are working to ensure he doesn’t get reelected. As the voter registration deadline loomed in Arizona on Tuesday, at least 300 high school and college-age Latinos were canvassing neighborhoods to register the last batch of eligible Latino voters.
The “Adiós Arpaio”campaign is composed of several organizations, including Promise Arizona in Action, and is led by the Campaign For Arizona’s Future. It concluded its five-month voter registration drive Tuesday night at the Arizona State Capitol building in Phoenix where it announced that it registered about 34,200 new voters, surpassing its goal of 30,000.
Arpaio is widely known as the nation’s toughest sheriff for his hardline immigration policies. But among Latinos in Arizona, he is known for his efforts to go after the state’s undocumented immigrants who are working to support their families instead of going after serious criminals.
This year, despite having a massive fundraising advantage and being well-recognized, Arpaio is facing his toughest re-election race to date. He is running in a close race against the Democratic candidate Paul Penzone, a former Phoenix police sergeant. The third candidate also running is Mike Stauffer, a 29-year police veteran who has low chances of winning.
The most recent poll of the Maricopa County sheriff’s race shows Arpaio is leading Penzone by 5.5 percent. Of the 850 likely voters surveyed for the poll released last month, 44.5 percent said they would vote for Arpaio, 39 percent said they favored Penzone, and less than 10 percent back Stauffer.