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Ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio loses Arizona GOP primary race after being pardoned by Donald Trump

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Ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio has lost the Arizona GOP primary race, three years after he was pardoned by Donald Trump for racially profiling Latino motorists during immigration raids.

The self-titled ‘toughest sheriff’, 88, lost out by around 6,000 votes to his former deputy Jerry Sheridan in a last-ditch attempt to claw back his old job in Maricopa County.

Arpaio, who was sheriff for 24 years, confirmed he was hanging up his badge for good this time, after the latest in a series of failed political comeback bids.  

Sheridan will now go head to head in November with Democrat Paul Penzone who ousted Arpaio from office in a landslide victory in 2016. 

Ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio (pictured) has lost the Arizona GOP primary race,

Ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio (pictured) has lost the Arizona GOP primary race,

The results of Tuesday’s primary are yet to be confirmed but the latest count Friday confirmed Arpaio’s defeat to his former protege.  

Sheridan secured about 37 percent of the vote to Arpaio’s 36 percent, according to the Maricopa County Elections Department.

With a difference of 6,280 votes and only 2,385 ballots left to be counted, it is not possible for Arpaio to close the gap. 

The race between the two former colleagues had been close with just 400 votes separating the two before Sheridan surged ahead, with experts saying Republican voters had lost interest in Arpaio’s extreme stance on crime and immigration.  

Arpaio said he was ‘a little shocked’ to lose the vote and confirmed this year’s race was the last time he would run for office. 

‘I guess I lost by 1 percent, but I’m still the longest-serving sheriff in the history of Maricopa County,’ he told the New York Times

‘Nobody is going to beat that one.’ 

This marked his second comeback bid since he lost out to Penzone in 2016, after he came third in a three-way race for the GOP nomination for US Senate in 2018. 

Arpaio was the first person to be pardoned by Donald Trump (pictured together) back in 2017 when he was convicted of criminal contempt of court for defying a judge's orders to stop traffic raids that were racially profiling Latinos

Arpaio was the first person to be pardoned by Donald Trump (pictured together) back in 2017 when he was convicted of criminal contempt of court for defying a judge’s orders to stop traffic raids that were racially profiling Latinos

Arpaio meeting inmates in 2012 when he was sheriff. He was known for his touch stance on immigration and crime, including housing prison inmates in tents and forcing them to wear pink underwear

Arpaio meeting inmates in 2012 when he was sheriff. He was known for his touch stance on immigration and crime, including housing prison inmates in tents and forcing them to wear pink underwear

The former sheriff was known for his tough line on immigration throughout his 24-year tenure, including controversial sweeps of undocumented immigrants in Hispanic communities.

He was also known for housing prison inmates in tents and forcing them to wear pink underwear. 

Arpaio had promised a return to these harsh tactics during his latest election campaign.

His failed bid comes after he became the first of many Trump allies to be pardoned by the president in 2017, when he was convicted of criminal contempt of court for defying a judge’s orders to stop traffic raids that racially profiled Latinos. 

In 2011, a judge had ordered the sheriff to stop raids carried out by deputies under his orders which targeted members of the Latino community. 

Arpaio continued with them and was found guilty of wilfully violating a federal judge’s order.  

He was facing six months behind bars before Trump controversially stepped in.  

Paul Penzone

Jerry Sheridan

Jerry Sheridan (right) will now go head to head in November with Democrat Paul Penzone (left) who ousted Arpaio from office in a landslide victory in 2016

Sheridan – Arpaio’s deputy at the time – was also found guilty of civil contempt of court and was referred for criminal contempt charges, but the statute of limitations prevented him being charged.  

Sheridan, who worked in the Sheriff’s Office for 38 years before he retired as deputy chief when Arpaio lost the election in 2016, told USA Today he was pleased with the primary results and heaped praise on his former boss. 

‘Joe Arpaio did a great job for a long time,’ he said. 

‘He will never be irrelevant, but I think his political career is over.’

Sheridan added that Democrat candidate Paul Penzone is ‘very beatable’ as the two now face off in the November election.  

Penzone, who was unopposed in the Democratic primary, won the seat from Arpaio in 2016 after immigrant rights groups and philanthropist George Soros backed him in efforts to oust Arpaio. 

Political experts have touted Penzone the firm favorite in the general election, with the Democrat even said to be drawing in some Republican voters.   

‘As sheriff of Maricopa County, I have removed politics and focused on restoring the office to an ethical, professional, and transparent organization,’ Penzone said in an earlier statement. 

‘I have been committed to a foundation of integrity, with an unwavering focus on public safety.’  

President Donald Trump’s shady history of support for alleged crooks and convicted felons

Roger Stone (Convicted)

The former strategist, 67, was convicted of seven felony counts in November 2018.

His convictions included five counts of making false statements to the FBI and congressional investigators, one count of witness tampering, and one obstruction of justice count. 

In a statement four months later White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said President Donald Trump ‘signed an Executive Grant of Clemency commuting the unjust sentence of Roger Stone, Jr. … Roger Stone is now a free man!’

The commutation did not erase Stone’s felony convictions in the same way a pardon would, but it protected him from serving prison time as a result.

Trump said: ‘I think Roger Stone was very unfairly treated, as were many people.’ 

Stone was prosecuted as an offshoot of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

Roger Stone flashes a victory gesture on February 1, 2019

Roger Stone flashes a victory gesture on February 1, 2019

Michael Flynn (Pleaded guilty)

In December 2017 the former National Security Advisor, 60, pleaded guilty to a felony count of ‘wilfully and knowingly’ making false statements to the FBI. 

By April this year President Donald Trump said he would consider bringing Flynn back to work at the White House.

‘I would certainly consider it,’ he said at an event in the East Room, when asked if he’d hire Flynn again.

‘He will be fully exonerated one way or another, and he would be capable of coming back,’ Trump noted.

His case was bolstered by newly unsealed FBI documents that show that FBI officials discussed whether to get Flynn ‘to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired’ during a 2017 interview with the Trump aide on his contact with the Russian ambassador.

The president cut Flynn loose in February 2017 – a month after he took office – first saying he fired Flynn because he lied to Vice President Mike Pence, and later because he lied to the FBI. 

Michael Flynn was fired a month into President Trump's tenure

Michael Flynn was fired a month into President Trump’s tenure

Rod Blagojevich (Convicted) 

Donald Trump used his presidential power in February to commute the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. 

Blagojevich, 63, was sent to prison for 14 years for soliciting bribes

Blagojevich, 63, was sent to prison for 14 years for soliciting bribes

Blagojevich, 63, was sent to prison for 14 years for soliciting bribes, including those for the Senate seat once held by Barack Obama, and for trying to shake down a children’s hospital. 

‘Yes, we have commuted the sentence, he served eight years in jail, a long time,’ Trump told reporters about Blagojevich during a Q&A session at Joint Base Andrews before he left for a four-day trip to the West Coast.

‘I don’t know him very well, I’ve might’ve met him a couple of times,’ Trump added. ‘He was on for a short while on “The Apprentice” years ago. Seem like a nice person, don’t know him, but he served eight years in jail, it was a long time he had to go, many people disagree with the sentences. He’s a Democrat, he’s not a Republican.’

He added: ‘He will be able to go back home with his family after serving eight years in jail. That was a tremendously powerful ridiculous sentence in my opinion. And in the opinions of many others.’

The commutation means Blagojevich is freed from prison but doesn’t have his conviction wiped from his record. Republicans had asked the president not to pardon the former governor, pointing to his corruption record.  

In 2009, Blagojevich appeared on NBC’s ‘The Apprentice,’ the reality TV show then hosted by Trump. 

Paul Monafort (Convicted)

Donald Trump  backed his former campaign chair Paul Manafort, 71, even as a Virginia jury considered his fate on tax and fraud charges.

With a jury in its second day of deliberations, Trump called Manafort a ‘very good person’ and called his trial ‘very sad.’

But he wouldn’t talk about a potential pardon of Manafort, who refused to cooperate with prosecutors to get what could have been a reduced sentence. ‘I don’t talk about that,’ he said.

Asked about Manafort as he departed for a fundraiser in Hamptons, Trump told reporters in August 2018: ‘I think the whole Manafort trial is very sad, when you look at what’s going on there.’ 

On August 21, their fourth day of deliberation, the jury found Manafort guilty on 8 of the 18 felony counts including five counts of filing false tax returns, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failing to disclose a foreign bank account.  

Judge Ellis declared a mistrial on the remaining 10 charges. 

Donald Trump's former campaign chair Paul Manafort in June 2019

Donald Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort in June 2019

Michael Cohen (Convicted)

The disbarred lawyer and convicted felon, 53, pleaded guilty to campaign finance charges and lying to Congress, among other crimes.

Cohen’s campaign finance charges related to his efforts to arrange payouts during the 2016 presidential race to keep the porn actress Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal from airing claims of extramarital affairs with Trump. 

Trump has denied the affairs.

In April 2018, Trump accused the New York Times of ‘going out of their way to destroy Michael Cohen and his relationship with me in the hope that he will “flip”.

He called Cohen ‘a fine person with a wonderful family’ who is a ‘businessman for his own account/lawyer who I have always liked & respected’.

On June 15, 2018, White House reporters asked Trump if Cohen was still his friend and lawyer. He said: ‘I always liked Michael Cohen… No, he’s not my lawyer anymore. But I always liked Michael, and he’s a good person.’ 

Michael Cohen, 53, pleaded guilty to campaign finance charges

Michael Cohen, 53, pleaded guilty to campaign finance charges

Joe Arpaio (Pardoned)

President Donald Trump pardoned the former law enforcement officer and politician, 88, on August 25, 2017, for criminal contempt of court, a misdemeanor. 

He had been convicted of the crime two months earlier for disobeying a federal judge’s order to stop racial profiling in detaining ‘individuals suspected of being in the US illegally’.

Trump hailed Arpaio as a ‘patriot’. He added: ‘Sheriff Joe is a patriot. Sheriff Joe loves our country. Sheriff Joe protected our borders. 

‘And Sheriff Joe was very unfairly treated by the Obama administration, especially right before an election, an election that he would have won. And he was elected many times. So I stand by my pardon of Sheriff Joe, and I think the people of Arizona who really know him best would agree with me,’ Trump said.

In the wake of Trump’s pardon, many critics also argued that he was being excused from serious violations – violations of people’s constitutional rights by ignoring a federal judge’s order. But Trump argued that Arpaio’s past service to the nation was relevant.

Arpaio had yet to be sentenced and hadn’t expressed remorse for the crimes he was convicted of committing. He campaigned frequently with Trump in 2016 and endorsed him. 

President Donald Trump pardoned the former law enforcement officer and politician Joe Arpaio, 88, on August 25, 2017, for criminal contempt of court, a misdemeanor. Pictured together in 2016

President Donald Trump pardoned the former law enforcement officer and politician Joe Arpaio, 88, on August 25, 2017, for criminal contempt of court, a misdemeanor. Pictured together in 2016

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