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Campaign: Sheriff Joe Arpaio has raised $12 million toward re-election bid

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has raised about $12 million toward his latest re-election bid, his campaign said Thursday.

The report from his campaign said Arpaio raised about $725,000 between Aug. 19 and Sept. 19.

Most of Arpaio’s donations come from out of state. An AP analysis showed Arizona accounted for 17 percent of contributions of more than $50. California was next at 16.6 percent, followed by Texas at 8.5 percent.

The report showed Arpaio has $3 million in cash on hand.

Meanwhile, Democratic challenger Paul Penzone is trailing in fundraising. His latest campaign-finance report showed a total of $326,000 in donations to date.

Last month, it was learned that Arpaio had raised about $10 million toward his campaign.

The 84-year-old is facing the toughest campaign of his career. His political strength has gradually slipped over the past four election cycles.

Arpaio crushed the field in 2000, seven years after he took office, snagging 66.5 percent of the votes. His closest opponent managed 26.4 percent.

Over the next elections Arpaio won 56.7 percent to 30.7 and 55.2 percent to 42.2 percent.

Penzone came closer than anyone else ever has to giving Arpaio a battle in the 2012 election.

While Arpaio won with about 51 percent of the vote, Penzone, a Democrat, captured nearly 45 percent.

Waning popularity isn’t Arpaio’s only challenge. The lawman who cultivated a national reputation for being tough on immigration is at risk of being charged in a contempt-of-court case.

U.S. District Judge Murray Snow is considering whether to recommend criminal charges against the sheriff for ignoring court orders in a racial-profiling lawsuit.

The judge has denied a bid for leniency.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

(Editor’s note: Penzone has been a contributor to and a frequent guest on the air.)

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