Joe Arpaio survived what appeared to be the closest challenge he has faced since taking office in 1993, securing an unprecedented sixth term as Maricopa County sheriff, the Arizona Republic reports. Arpaio maintained a comfortable lead over challenger Paul Penzone from the time early balloting results began rolling in until Penzone conceded the election a few hours later.
The results served as vindication for Arpaio and his supporters, who view the sheriff as a national figure in the immigration-enforcement movement who has stuck to his principles in the face of attacks from attorneys, activists, and President Barack Obama's administration. The U.S. Justice Department filed a civil-rights lawsuit against the Sheriff's Office in the spring, accusing the agency of widespread discrimination against Latino residents in patrol operations and jails. Arpaio raised more than $8.2 million for his campaign, of which about 80 percent came from donors who live outside Arizona. Despite all the forces aligned against him, Arpaio's reliance on his law-and-order reputation, bolstered by a string of TV advertisements reminding voters of his commitment to fighting animal cruelty, dead-beat dads, and immigration enforcement, was enough to earn him a sixth term in office.