PHOENIX — Joe Arpaio, the 90-year-old former Arizona sheriff who was a once powerful figure in Republican politics but was ousted nearly six years ago amid frustration over his headline-grabbing tactics and legal troubles, was defeated Wednesday in a race for mayor of the affluent suburb where he has lived for more than two decades.
His defeat in the mayor’s race in Fountain Hills against two-term incumbent Ginny Dickey marks Arpaio’s third failed comeback bid since his 2016 loss after serving 24 years as the sheriff of Maricopa County.
Arpaio was crushed by a Democratic challenger in 2016 and was convicted the next year of criminal contempt of court for disobeying a judge’s order to stop traffic patrols that targeted immigrants, though he was later pardoned by then-President Donald Trump.
Arpaio then finished third in a Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat in 2018 and second in the GOP primary in a 2020 bid to win back the sheriff’s post.
Before the federal government and the courts stripped away his immigration powers, Arpaio led 20 large-scale traffic patrols that targeted immigrants and more than 80 business raids to bust people working in the United States without permission.
While his defiant streak played well with voters for many years, Arpaio faced heavy criticism for taking on policies that he knew were controversial and racking up $147 million in taxpayer-funded legal bills.
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