Arizona: Sheriff Joe Arpaio loses re-election bid

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announces newly launched program aimed at providing security around schools in Anthem, Arizona, January 9, 2013. (LAURA SEGALL / Reuters file)
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announces newly launched program aimed at providing security around schools in Anthem, Arizona, January 9, 2013. (LAURA SEGALL / Reuters file)

NBC NEWS – The Arizona sheriff who became a national symbol of harsh anti-immigration tactics lost his bid for re-election.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio lost the race for a seventh term to retired police Sgt. Paul Penzone. Arpaio, 84, has been sheriff since 1993.

Latino, civil rights and immigrant groups who had mobilized against the controversial sheriff were celebrating Tuesday night.

Groups in the state had organized under the coalition BaztaArpaio and urged Hispanics in the state to vote against him. Organizers and volunteers knocked on doors in predominantly Latino neighborhoods, drove around in red buses and encouraged early voting.

Arpaio, who became known as “America’s toughest sheriff,” drew the ire of immigrant and civil rights groups around the country for his methods including profiling Latinos in traffic patrols that targeted immigrants.

He was recently charged with a crime for ignoring a court order to stop immigration patrols; if convicted, he could face jail time.

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