Penzone: Phone ‘blew up’ with support after Arpaio announced MCSO run
PHOENIX — When former longtime Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced last month he would run to reclaim his old position, the phone of the man who currently holds it wouldn’t stop ringing.
Paul Penzone said his phone “blew up” for a couple of days with politicians and others pledging their support for the first-term sheriff.
Penzone, a Democrat, ended the Republican Arpaio’s 24-year run as sheriff in 2016.
“My phone blew up from every walk of the political spectrum,” Penzone told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac and Gaydos on Thursday. “There were conservative Republicans, independents and Democrats who all reached out and said ‘nah, this ain’t happening.'”
Penzone beat Arpaio by more than 10 percentage points, but the 87-year-old announced on Aug. 25 he wanted another crack at his old job.
The announcement came two years after Arpaio was pardoned by President Donald Trump after he was found guilty of misdemeanor contempt when he continued his immigration sweeps for 17 months after a judge ordered him to stop.
Arpaio would have to win the Republican primary next August before facing Penzone.
Two other GOP candidates, including longtime Arpaio assistant Jerry Sheridan, have already announced a run for the position.
Penzone said he had no intention of getting into a nasty campaign with Arpaio. Instead, he’d let his work the past 2 1/2 years be indicative of his ability to be sheriff.
“We’ve removed politics from the office and focused on public safety, and just the culture and the relationship we have with the community has improved dramatically,” Penzone said. “My campaign is about staying true to who I’ve been and will continue to be.”