Sheriff Joe Arpaio. You know the name. He’s the top cop in Maricopa County, Arizona’s largest county and home to the city of Phoenix. He’s also one of the worst civil rights abusers in the whole country, with a resume of cruelty literally decades long. His rap sheet is too lengthy to recount in its entirety, but Arpaio’s recent lawless behavior will give you a perfect sense of just who he is:
- In 2013, a federal judge ruled that Arpaio's office had violated the constitutional rights of Latinos by engaging in racial profiling in its vindictive immigration patrols.
- Three years later, Arpaio was found in civil contempt of court for violating that same judge’s order to curtail his unconstitutional racial profiling practices.
- Then, just last month, the judge referred Arpaio and three deputies to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, asking that they be prosecuted for criminal contempt of court—a charge that carries with it the possibility of incarceration. And wouldn’t that be something?
Arpaio first became notorious for mistreating prisoners under his care years ago, serving them discolored green and blue meat, forcing them to wear pink underwear, and sending them to live in tents, where he’s bragged that temperatures could reach 145 degrees in the summer heat. How extraordinary would it be if Arpaio had to spend even a day under the cruel conditions he’s so gleefully created?
But we don’t have to wait for Arpaio to wind up in jail in order to bring his reign of terror to an end, nor should we. That’s because he’s up for re-election this fall, and he faces the fight of his political life. Former Phoenix police sergeant Paul Penzone ran against Arpaio as a Democrat four years ago, and he held the incumbent to what was by far his smallest margin of victory ever, just 51-45.
Now Penzone is running again, and this time, the polls offer even more reason for optimism.
A new survey on behalf of the progressive group Project New America found Penzone with a stunning 53-44 lead on Arpaio, but it's not just Democrats who think Penzone is ahead: An independent poll from a Republican pollster found Penzone ahead 45-42 earlier this summer. And there’s more to it than the polls. Penzone has some big-name believers, too: Liberal bilionaire George Soros has targeted Arpaio for defeat, creating a group that has sent out mailers blasting the sheriff over his malicious incompetence.
But Arpaio still has an enormous financial advantage: He’s spent an astonishing $9 million so far and still has over $2 million left in his campaign account. Penzone, by contrast, has spent only $140,000 and has just $211,000 in the bank. And one pollster has found Arpaio leading, so it’s by no means certain that Penzone is winning—and with his huge cash edge, Arpaio can still try to swamp his opponent in the final weeks of the race.
That’s where we come in. Penzone needs people-powered donations so that he can effectively communicate his message to voters. There’s no way we can match Arpaio dollar for dollar, but Penzone just needs enough to stay competitive, and with enough small contributions, he’ll be able to.
That’s why Daily Kos is proudly endorsing Paul Penzone. He can beat the worst sheriff in the country, and he can do so with our help.
Please give Paul Penzone $3 today so that he can end Joe Arpaio’s reign of terror and restore justice to Maricopa County.