Joe Arpaio: former Arizona sheriff fails to return to old job

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Reuters

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Joe Arpaio is a strong supporter of President Trump


Joe Arpaio, the controversial former sheriff known for his harsh immigration tactics, failed in an attempt to regain his old job in the US state of Arizona.

The confessed “toughest sheriff” was beaten in the Republican primary for the role in Maricopa County by his former deputy.

Mr Arpaio, 88, was found guilty of criminal contempt after defying a court order banning traffic patrols targeting suspected undocumented immigrants.

He was pardoned by President Trump.

Mr Arpaio said this year’s race was his last attempt to run for public office. In 2018, he lost a candidacy for the US Senate in Arizona.

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Mr. Arpaio, who served as sheriff for 24 years, lost by about 6,000 votes, according to the Maricopa County Elections Department.

His former aide Jerry Sheridan will now face Democrat Paul Penzone, who removed Arpaio from his post in 2016 in a landslide victory.

As the election draws near, Arpaio has vowed to continue his controversial police tactics with policies that included housing inmates in county jails in tents and regular immigration sweeps.

During his tenure as sheriff, he housed inmates in tents, forced them to wear pink underwear, and brought back chain gangs.

He achieved national notoriety for his roundups of undocumented immigrants in Hispanic communities and for detaining Hispanics suspected of being in the country irregularly.

Mr. Arpaio was convicted in July 2011 of willfully violating an injunction ending his practice of detaining migrants who are not suspected of having committed a state crime. Only federal officials have jurisdiction over immigration.

He faced six months in prison, but received President Donald Trump’s first presidential pardon.

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Media captionIn a 2011 interview, Mr. Arpaio said he was protecting American jobs

Mr. Arpaio was one of Mr. Trump’s first supporters and often appeared with him in the 2016 election campaign.

This week’s election was seen as a test of how the anti-immigration message, similar to Mr. Trump’s, would be received by voters ahead of the November election.

Speaking to the New York Times, Arpaio said this year’s public service attempt would be his last. He said his age was working against him.

“I guess I lost 1%, but I’m still the longest-serving sheriff in Maricopa County history. Nobody is going to beat that one, ”he said.

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