PHOENIX — Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio outspent rival Paul Penzone by double-digit millions, only to lose the race.
Final campaign finance reports from the Maricopa County sheriff’s election showed that Republican Arpaio spent $12.6 million in the 2016 election trying to hold onto the office he had led for six terms.
Democrat Penzone, who won the job spent $1 million. He won on his second try by nearly 13 percentage points.
Penzone’s efforts were aided greatly by billionaire George Soros, whose political action committee spent $2 million overall on anti-Arpaio ads and mailings.
The final financial reports were released last week and early this week.
Arpaio had raised around $10 million by late summer for his re-election. During an appearance on C-Span at the Republican National Convention in July, Arpaio laughed when the show host pointed out that was more than now President-elect Donald Trump had raised.
She asked why he would need that kind of money for a sheriff’s race. “A lot elements want to get rid of me,” the 84-year old said.
The bulk of contributions for the former lawman’s campaign came from outside Arizona.
In-state contributors who gave more than $50 apiece made up about 17 percent.
Arpaio spent some of his money on a negative TV ad that accused Penzone of physically hurting his ex-wife.
Penzone sued Arpaio for defamation in late September but recently dropped the lawsuit.
Paul Penzone was a frequent contributor to KTAR News.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.