Maricopa County, Az., Sheriff Joe Arpaio is as popular and polarizing as ever, evident in the amount of outside interest and influence focused on his race for a sixth consecutive term, reports the Arizona Republic. Arpaio, who became a national icon in the illegal-immigration-enforcement movement during the past decade, has raised as much as 80 percent of his campaign’s $8 million from out-of-state donors.
Arpaio’s main opponent, retired Phoenix police Sgt. Paul Penzone, is also benefiting from factions outside Arizona that are interested in the race, including an independent political-action committee that received $500,000 from labor groups spending money on materials and activities aimed at unseating Arpaio. Immigration, the sheriff’s signature issue, is responsible for attracting much of the national money pouring in on both sides of the race, said Bruce Merrill, a longtime Arizona political scientist and pollster.