Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is 79 years old. He's also running for a sixth term as sheriff, as he announced yesterday.
"For all those critics that demonstrate in front of my office for three years, calling me every name in the book, I'm going to announce right now on your show, on your show, that I'm running again for sheriff, for my sixth four-year term," Arpaio shrieked during an appearance on Fox News yesterday afternoon. "So maybe they're going to have a bad day, all these critics against me."
Actually, Arpaio announced that he was running in a press release yesterday morning (a press release we're still waiting for a copy of. Chad Willems, we're looking in your direction).
Arpaio already has $6 million in his campaign coffers -- and the unwavering support of every immigrant-fearing, blue-haired far-right-wing-nut in Maricopa County.
However, the sheriff's had a particularly bad year in the PR department.
Below, we've listed a few of the sheriff's most humiliating moments of 2011:
A) The "Birther" investigation: In September -- at the request of conspiracy theorists and Tea Partiers -- the sheriff launched an investigation into the continuously de-bunked conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama is not a U.S. citizen. Arpaio claims microphice and Hawaiian twins are the key to solving the mystery. Get the whole story here.
B) The Elvis-themed panty party at Tent City: In August, to celebrate Tent City's 19th anniversary, Arpaio got an Elvis impersonator to sing a duet with him at the jail as female inmates threw pink panties at America's self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff." Get all the details here.
C) The Department of Justice report: In December, the DOJ announced its findings in an investigation into whether the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office's deputies racially profile Hispanics. According to the DOJ, Arpaio's on the hook for the worst racial profiling practices in U.S. history. Read all about it here.
D) The Sex-Crime Follies: Also in Decmber -- and seemingly out of nowhere -- an Associated Press reporter decided to re-report a story about how the MCSO bungled 432 sex-crime investigations over a two-year period. The re-hashing of the botched investigations became national news -- despite the East Valley Tribune's winning a Pulitzer Prize for the same story a few years ago. The sheriff says he's sorry "if" there are any victims. Read all about it here.
E) The Drug Cartel Infiltration of the MCSO: In May, it was revealed that a deputy and two MCSO detention officers were working for a Mexican drug cartel. The deputy, as it turns out, was involved in the MCSO's human smuggling unit, and allegedly was tipping off human smugglers about the unit's operations. Get the details here.
These are only a few of Arpaio's many humiliations in 2011 (according to a poll we ran Tuesday, The Sex Crime Follies are what New Times readers find to be the most embarrassing).
Let's not forget the more than $50 million Arpaio's cost Maricopa County taxpayers to defend him in lawsuits since America's priciest sheriff took office in 1993, according to the County Risk Management Department. Or the roughly $100 million he "misspent" over the last eight years.
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To a rational person, voting for Arpaio -- given his endless baggage -- would be absurd. However, this is Maricopa County, where Arpaio's been elected five times already -- despite the lawsuits, the political witch hunts, the corruption, etc.
We want to know what you think: Is Arpaio beatable in this year's election?
Cast your vote below.