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Paul Penzone challenges Sheriff Joe Arpaio to debate after turning in signatures

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff hopeful Paul Penzone is challenging the current sheriff, Joe Arpaio, to a debate.

Penzone turned in his petition signatures Friday to the Maricopa County elections office. He turned in roughly 6,200 signatures, about double the amount required to run for the office.

After turning in his signatures, Penzone said the community deserves a debate ahead of the November general election.

“I think the community should challenge [Arpaio] to have that opportunity where both of us stand in front and answer questions that are serious, hard questions for their safety and their future,” Penzone said.

Penzone, who is running for sheriff as a Democrat, said when he ran against the Republican Arpaio four years ago, the sheriff was unwilling to participate in a debate. Penzone lost to Arpaio by six points in the 2012 general election.

“We owe it to this community to both speak on why I am most qualified, and if [Arpaio] believes that he has the right to earn another four years, then he should have to answer to the things he’s done and what he will do,” Penzone said.

Penzone spent 21 years as a Phoenix police officer. Arpaio has served as Maricopa County Sheriff since 1993.

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