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Old Cracker Sheriff Joe Arpaio Loses Re-Election, Still Faces Jail Time (Lock Him Up!)

Don't go away mad. Just go away.
Don’t go away mad. Just go away.

Among the few bright spots in this terrible barfstain of an election: Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio lost his bid for reelection to a seventh term. Arpaio was defeated by retired Phoenix Police sergeant Paul Penzone, ending the publicity-addicted Arpaio’s 24-year career as a genuine Old West petty tyrant. Penzone’s supporters chanted, “There’s a new sheriff in town” as they watched election returns. A huge organizing drive by Latinos helped Penzone win against Arpaio, with 54.9 percent to 45.1 percent of the vote. Penzone had previously run and lost against Arpaio in 2012.

“The people Arpaio targeted decided to target him. He lost his power when undocumented people lost their fear,” said Carlos Garcia, executive director of Puente, an advocacy group formed in 2007 to counter the sheriff’s embrace of a federal program that allowed his deputies to act as de facto immigration agents.

“We knew that losing an election was only a matter of time,” Mr. Garcia said. “For us, what is most important now is to undo the damage and culture of hate that he has brought upon this county.”

Sheriff-elect Paul Penzone
Sheriff-elect Paul Penzone

Also, get ready to hear from your conspiracy-minded crazy uncle on this: Penzone’s campaign was backed in part by George Soros, who put $ 2.3 million into a PAC aimed at defeating Arpaio.

On election day, hundreds of people met in a Phoenix park to watch the election returns after days of campaigning, knocking on doors, and getting out the vote. Yes, they busted open some Arpaio-themed pinatas. Later, they marched to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, chanting “Arrest Arpaio, not the people.”

Penzone’s victory speech was classy, and aimed at cleaning up MCSO’s reputation for being Arpaio’s personal political tool:

“No longer will we be known by the notoriety of one,” he said. “The only division we should see in the community is between those who commit the crime and those (who) are willing to hold them accountable.”

Speaking of being held accountable: Arpaio remains under indictment on federal criminal contempt of court charges for ignoring a federal judge’s 2011 order to cease immigration patrols based on racial profiling; if convicted, he could face six months in prison. Arpaio was one of Donald Trump’s most prominent supporters, so let’s all be on the lookout for either a pardon (unlikely) or vengeful firing of anyone in the Justice Department who came anywhere near the case against Arpaio, or at least pressure from the White House to drop the case (almost guaranteed).

Yes, we’re still adjusting to our nation’s new status as a strongman-ruled banana republic, we guess.

Arpaio’s departure from office should be good fiscal news for Maricopa County, which has spent tens of millions of dollars in Sheriff Arpaio’s legal defense in multiple lawsuits. Of course, Arpaio says he saved a lot of money for the county by feeding and housing prisoners in substandard, humiliating conditions, so that clearly offsets a ton of legal fees.

Enjoy your retirement, you racist old hate-sow. Here’s hoping you eventually die of old age, alone and unloved.

[AzCentral / NYT / AzCentral]

Source: Politics – Wonkette

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