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Joe Arpaio loses primary bid for Maricopa County sheriff to Jerry Sheridan

Sheridan will go on to face off against incumbent Democrat Paul Penzone in November.

MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. — Joe Arpaio, the polarizing former Maricopa County sheriff, has lost his bid to reclaim his title after being bested by his former top deputy Jerry Sheridan in Arizona’s Republican primary, polls showed Friday.

Sheridan will go on to face off against incumbent Democrat Paul Penzone in November.

When the first results dropped Tuesday night, Arpaio and Sheridan were deadlocked with just 572 votes separating the two candidates.

On Thursday, Sheridan pulled away from the 88-year-old former sheriff with 4,090 ballots separating the two.

Arpaio fell behind even more the following day as Sheridan garnered 156,396 votes to Arpaio's 150,116.

With just 2,400 ballots left to count as of 5 p.m. Friday, Arpaio has mathematically lost the race.

Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes says the primary counts have been completed.

Penzone handed Arpaio the worst defeat of any countywide candidate in 2016.

Since then, Arpaio has been on a quest to reclaim his job as sheriff after 24 years at the helm, but the loss to Sheridan marks his third failed attempt.

A firebrand for law enforcement, Arpaio billed himself as “America’s Toughest Sheriff," but he ignited a nationwide furor in 2010 after a strict anti-illegal immigration policy essentially allowed his deputies to racially profile every-day people, his critics argued.

Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt of court in 2017 after a judge ruled that he ignored an order to stop arresting undocumented immigrants without producing evidence of them breaking state law.

A pardon from his ally President Donald Trump spared Arpaio from a prison sentence, but it did not expunge his conviction.

Arpaio’s political future in an increasingly moderate Arizona looks doubtful as he contends with this latest defeat.