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Sheridan keeps narrow lead over Arpaio in Maricopa County primary

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — For the position of Maricopa County Sheriff, Jerry Sheridan maintained his narrow lead Wednesday over Joe Arpaio in the primary election race.

With about 370,000 ballots counted, Sheridan had 37% of the vote to Arpaio’s 36%, according to the Maricopa County Elections Department.

Sheridan and Arpaio were separated by 541 votes.

Mike Crawford, a Glendale police officer, had garnered 26% of the vote.

Mesa security guard Lehland Burton was also a write-in candidate. Information about his percentage of the vote garnered was not immediately available.

A total of 7,048 new ballots were added Wednesday with Arpaio picking up 31 votes from the previous tally.

If Sheridan retains his lead over Arpaio, he’ll face Democratic incumbent Paul Penzone, who ran unopposed and handily beat Arpaio in 2016.

It would also mark the second failed political comeback try for Arpaio in two years. He finished third in a 2018 U.S. Senate primary.

Arpaio based much of his campaign around his support of President Donald Trump, who spared Arpaio a possible jail sentence when he pardoned his contempt of court conviction. Arpaio disobeyed a court order to stop traffic patrols that targeted immigrants.

During his campaign, Arpaio vowed to bring back practices that the courts have either deemed illegal or his successor has ended, including Arpaio’s trademark immigration crackdowns and use of jail tents in the Arizona heat.

Arpaio said he hasn’t been garnering media attention like he used to, and many voters didn’t know he was trying to get his old job back until they saw his name on their ballots. He insists he is good health, even though his critics have made his age an issue in the race. If he were to win and serve a full four-year term, Arpaio would be approaching his 93rd birthday.

Earlier Wednesday, Sheridan led with 37% of the votes to Arpaio’s 36% with about 45% of precincts reporting, according to preliminary results Tuesday from the Maricopa County Elections Department.

The two were separated by 572 votes.

In the primary election for Glendale mayor, incumbent Jerry Weiers retained his 53%-47% lead over a political newcomer Michelle Robertson with about 29% of precincts reporting, according to election results.

Weiers has been the mayor of Glendale since 2013.

Robertson’s background is in education. She’s been with the Cartwright Elementary School District for 19 years as a teacher, content specialist and mentor and currently serves in the human resources office.

Voters in Mesa, Scottsdale and Gilbert also cast ballots in nonpartisan mayoral races Tuesday.

In the primary race for mayor of Mesa, incumbent John Giles had 67% of the vote to Verl Farnsworth’s 33% with nearly 31% of precincts reporting, according to election results issued Wednesday.

Scottsdale and Gilbert’s mayoral positions are vacant. If no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, the top two vote-getters will advance to the general election.

Scottsdale has five candidates seeking to succeed Jim Lane, who reached his term limit: Lisa Borowsky, Suzanne Klapp, Virginia L. Korte, Bob Littlefield and Dave Ortega.

With about 38% of precincts reporting, Ortega and Borowsky each had 21% of the vote.

Korte and Littlefield followed with 20% apiece, according to the Maricopa County Elections Department.

Klapp had garnered the least support at 17%.

In Gilbert, three candidates are seeking to replace Jenn Daniels, who chose not to run again: Lynne King Smith, Matt Nielsen and Brigette Peterson.

Peterson had garnered 35% of the vote, according to the Maricopa County Elections Department.

Nielsen trailed at 33%, followed by King Smith with 31% of the vote.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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