Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio is gearing up for what he expects will be the toughest of his five re-election campaigns, the Associated Press reports. He is facing a determined effort from immigration rights activists to push him out. A ruling may come any day in a lawsuit that alleges his department violated the civil rights of Hispanics. A second lawsuit filed by the Justice Department is making its way through the courts. In TV ads, he doesn't mention the signature issue that helped bring him to national prominence — a sign that illegal immigration is losing its potency.
“Issues in campaigns are like flowers: They bloom, go away and then they bloom again,” GOP lobbyist Stan Barnes said. “The bloom is off illegal immigration.” Arpaio, with a massive $4.2 million campaign treasury, remains the favorite in the November election. In an interview, he was defiant and confident as always, and disagreed that illegal immigration has lost its political punch. “I get hundreds of people coming up to me and thanking me,” said Arpaio, the sheriff in Maricopa County, the state's largest, which includes much of the Phoenix metropolitan area.