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America’s ‘toughest sheriff’ Joe Arpaio loses re-election bid in Arizona

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 (UPI) — The Arizona sheriff who has spent more than 20 years touting himself as the toughest in America, partly because of his harsh stance against illegal immigration, has lost his re-election campaign.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio, nationally known for operating a tent camp where he imprisons people he has identified as illegal immigrants, lost his bid for a seventh re-election as top law enforcement official in Maricopa County, Ariz., to retired police Sgt. Paul Penzone.

Arpaio, 84, who first won election in 1993, has drawn criticism for his tactics against undocumented immigrants in the county, but has been consistently re-elected by voters at least partially because of those tactics.

In the weeks leading up to the election, several groups in the state worked to mobilize Hispanic voters, knocking on doors, driving buses and nudging people to vote early.

Arpaio’s campaign was weakened in the months leading up to Election Day as he awaits a court date for criminal contempt charges for ignoring court orders to stop racially profiling Hispanic drivers as part of his quest to catch undocumented immigrants.

Arpaio admitted he was a little “nervous” on Election Day, which makes sense considering the upcoming court date and the millions of dollars poured into a group backing Penzone called Maricopa Strong.

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