Joe Arpaio-Foe Paul Penzone Blasts Sheriff's Hypocritical New Ad
Arpaio's latest lying campaign ad
Sun City is an Arpaio stronghold, patrolled by the MCSO, with a significant posse presence. Penzone's audience was, for the most part, made up of members of the Democratic minority there.
As a result, the candidate was well received. One lady asked if she could donate to him before leaving. Another stated that she would love to see him debate Arpaio.
"I'd like to see that, too," Penzone smiled as everyone laughed, knowing that Arpaio will never consent to a debate with a younger, more vigorous and better-spoken rival.
(Indeed, at a candidate's forum at Scottsdale Community College Thursday night, Arpaio was a no-show, though Penzone was front and center. As is usually the case, "America's toughest sheriff" is a coward when it comes to facing his opposition.)
The candidate blasted the sheriff for shrugging off tens of thousands of unserved warrants in Maricopa County. He also slammed Arpaio for the hundreds of uninvestigated sex crimes in El Mirage and beyond.
"When someone shows up in uniform, you get that sense of peace [that] they're here to protect me, they're here to make things right," Penzone said. "Can you imagine a woman or a child, when law enforcement shows up and then turns their back and walks away and that's the last you see them?
"How is it that a law enforcement leader in our community can stand before the public, and say, `If there were any victims, I apologize,' when you know damn well there were hundreds of victims?"
Afterwards, I spoke with some of those present, including June Heuser, who though despite being a Democrat, told me she had voted for Arpaio in the past because of his stance on illegal immigration. Now she's planning to vote for Penzone.
Why? Arpaio's descent into birther madness.
"I got ticked off at him for spending all this money on trying to prove that Obama was not born in Hawaii," Heuser said. "It's none of [Arpaio's] business. If it were true, it would have been discovered a long time ago."
That sentiment dovetails with the results of a poll commissioned by Citizens for a Better Arizona, showing that 65 percent of respondents disapproved of Arpaio's birther probe.
A large majority of Dems hated it -- 88 percent's worth. But many Republicans -- 44 percent -- were not happy with it either, revealing a weakness in Arpaio's line of defense that should be exploited by the Penzone campaign and by independent expenditure committees targeting Arpaio, such as the new bipartisan group Citizens for Professional Law Enforcement.
Penzone has been hustling on the campaign trail, doing interviews for the East Coast at 6 a.m., appearing at fundraisers and forums, and constantly working the phones, seeking donations. No one can fault him for lack of a work ethic.
Wednesday's foray into Sun City will not be the last. According to Penzone's campaign manager Jake Adams, his candidate will be returning to Sun City, as well as hitting other areas where Arpaio has traditionally received support, like the Sun Lakes community south of Chandler.
In other words, the battle is joined in what may be this county's last chance ever to rid ourselves of Arpaio, with 20 days left before early voting begins and 46 days left till election day.
Note: Some Joe-critics have questioned Arpaio's wearing his uniform in the campaign ad above and in others, suggesting that it could be a violation of state law or of the federal Hatch Act, which prohibits the use of government resources in political campaigning.
However, Maricopa County Elections Director Karen Osborn told me that the issue has come up in past elections and Joe's uniform-wearing does not violate state law.
Similarly, according to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, which investigates Hatch Act violations, there is an exception for elected sheriffs, who are allowed to wear their uniforms while campaigning.