With more than 443,000 ballots cast in the Republican primary, Jerry Sheridan has beaten former Sheriff Joe Arpaio by just over 6,000 votes and will be the Republican nominee against Democrat Paul Penzone this November.
Sheridan is a 38-year veteran of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and his campaign has made much of the fact that he started at the lowest ranks and made his way all the way up to the number two position in the office, Chief Deputy. With Arpaio’s baggage and 2016 defeat at the hands of Penzone very much on the minds of voters, voters turned to Sheridan because he offered both the experience and the tough on crime attitude they were looking for.
While Penzone’s critics point out his being AWOL during civil unrest, Sheridan has been vocally championing the need for law enforcement to enforce the laws, including during riots and unrest. Sheridan also enjoyed the endorsements of law enforcement groups, which bolster his claims that the Sheriff’s office is being mismanaged by Penzone.
The race itself will be a challenge for Republicans, because while the county still has a Republican advantage, Penzone enjoys a $400,000 head start on fundraising and candidates like Penzone and fellow Democrat Adrian Fontes enjoyed substantial financial support from out of state liberal groups funded by Democrat heavyweights like George Soros.