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Penzone on Arpaio’s fundraising lead: ‘Money can’t undo the past’

Joe Arpaio, left, and Paul Penzone. (AP Photo, left, and KTAR News Photo, right)

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone isn’t concerned that challenger Joe Arpaio is holding a hefty fundraising lead over him because of the former sheriff’s controversial past.

“Money can’t undo the past and it can’t buy you the reputation of having integrity,” Penzone told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos in the Afternoon on Thursday. “It can’t trick people into believing suddenly you got better at something you’re not good at.

“You can’t change the past where there were abuses and wastes of taxpayer dollars.”

Arpaio, who held the sheriff position from 1993 to 2017, has raised $656,000 compared to Penzone’s $270,000 ahead of the November election.

Between October and the end of December, those contributions favored Arpaio by $200,000.

Penzone believes that despite his monetary deficit, he’s got an advantage because of how he’s run the sheriff’s office since Arpaio’s departure.

Penzone in October 2017 closed Tent City, the outdoor jail for low-level offenders that gained national attention for its living conditions and unique inmate wardrobe choices.

Earlier that year, Arpaio was found guilty of misdemeanor contempt when he continued his immigration sweeps for 17 months after a judge ordered him to stop.

He could have faced up to six months in jail but was pardoned by President Donald Trump in August 2017.

“I would like to think that integrity matters, results matter and that’s what I’m going to keep doing,” Penzone said. “I’m going to keep being a person that keep trying to deliver results.

“I’m going to be a person that never sacrifices my integrity for this job or any other.”

The spending differential in the 2016 election, a nearly 13 percentage point win for Penzone, favors the current sheriff’s argument.

Finance reports showed that Arpaio spent $12.6 million during that campaign. Penzone spent about $1 million.

“I think the most important thing I can do is continue to be transparent and honest about what’s going really well and what has not gone well and what we’re doing to correct it,” Penzone said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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