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When the Republican presidential candidates debate in Mesa, Arizona tonight, the grassroots group Citizens for a Better Arizona will be ready for them—with an ad drawing attention to infamous Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and calling for his resignation.
“Learn the real story of America’s Most Sued Sheriff, America’s Most Costly Sheriff and America’s Most Corrupt Sheriff,” says the press release announcing the ad, playing on Arpaio’s self-designated nickname, “America’s Toughest Sheriff.”
Watch the ad here:
Citizens for a Better Arizona is best known for its role in last year’s historic recall of State Senate President Russell Pearce, another anti-immigrant blowhard and the architect of SB 1070, the original anti-immigrant law. Its ad campaign against Arpaio was announced today by group Co-Founder and President Randy Parraz, who has set his sights on kicking Arpaio out of office now that Pearce has been deposed.
Arpaio will be running for a fifth term as Sheriff this November, and Parraz believes he is newly vulnerable. The Sheriff has a long history of flagrant civil rights offenses, where his “Ahab-like pursuit of undocumented immigrants” has led to charges of abuse, racial profiling, and gross overreach of authority. He once forced a mother to give birth while handcuffed to a bed, oversaw a 58% increase in the rate of violent crime, misspent $100 million in taxpayer funds, neglected to investigate over 400 sex crimes cases, and spent $50 million defending himself against lawsuits. Last December, the US Department of Justice announced that its investigations of Arpaio had unearthed “a pattern or practice of unconstitutional policing” and “a chronic culture of disregard for basic legal and constitutional obligations,” and warned Arpaio that he had to change his ways. This year, Parraz says, there will be a credible Democrat—Paul Penzone—running against Arpaio, as well as a grassroots movement dedicated to installing a new Sheriff. And, Pearce’s recall has created momentum among activists who once believed removing Arpaio would be impossible.
“We have to hold him [Arpaio] accountable,” Parraz said during the ad unveiling. “We have to show politicians that there are consequences to this kind of behavior and create room for Republicans who are sane.”
After tonight’s Republican debate, the ad will air a few more times in Arizona in the next few days. The Arizona primary is scheduled for next Tuesday, February 28.