UPDATED: Sheriff Joe Locked In Virtual Tie With Jerry Sheridan In Sheriff’s Primary

UPDATE 8/6:

After more ballots were counted on Thursday Jerry Sheridan’s lead has grown to more than 4,000 votes with roughly 50,000 ballots left to be counted. Counting will resume on Friday with more results to be released at 5pm local time. lots

UPDATE:

With about 75,000 ballots still to be counted the Sheridan’s lead is still about 500 votes. The campaigns don’t expect a result until the weekend.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his former Deputy Chief Jerry Sheridan are locked in a virtual tie 36.7% – 36.7% with Sheridan leading his former boss by less than 300 votes out of nearly 350,000 total votes cast. Arpaio is battling Sheridan for the opportunity to run against the current Sheriff who took them both out of office and into a courtroom in a vicious 2016 campaign. Paul Penzone defeated Sheriff Joe backed by George Soros and huge amounts of his money and influence in a race that no tactic was off limit.

For both men beating Penzone and reclaiming the office they together spent decades building is personal. They are itching for a rematch and that’s made it a heated contest between the longtime colleagues. At 88 years old, Sheriff Joe would run circles around Joe Biden but after the loss to Penzone, the court conviction, and a pardon from President Trump even many of his longtime aides began to question if it wasn’t time for new leadership. Hence the run by Sheridan which is being backed by another longtime fixture in the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department, Chris Hegstrom.

Too Close To Call

Update: After a new batch of votes came in around 2am, the race narrowed Sheriff Joe closed the gap now trailing by less than 300 votes.

As it stands they are separated by just 516 votes out of the more than 330,000 votes that have been counted. The slow vote count is no surprise to anyone familiar with Arizona politics and results won’t likely be released until the wee hours of the morning. If the in-person vote remains as close as early and absentee voting, a winner may not be chosen for several days.

Sheriff Joe waiting for election results
Sheriff Joe waiting for election results August 4th, 2020
Jerry Sheridan awaiting election results
Jerry Sheridan awaiting election results, August 4th, 2020

The winner gets the rematch with Penzone but both men see it as more than that. They see it as a chance to restore law and order to the community they have both spent decades serving. Increasing rioting and violence backed by the same people who backed Penzone in his successful 2016 campaign make this seat ripe for an upset. Especially if the two proud lawmen can find a way to put the bruising campaign behind them.

Can The Winner Go On Offense?

The key to victory in the general election for either Sheriff Joe or Jerry Sheridan is whether or not they can get past defending themselves from the attacks that brought them down in 2016 and use their extensive experience to pick apart Sheriff Penzone’s time at the helm of a huge bureaucracy. To beat Penzone they’ll need to raise piles of money and put it to use making the case that Penzone is on the team of the rioters and looters and they will restore law and order.

During his four years in office Penzone has systematically dismantled a culture of old fashioned law and order that is nearly extinct in modern times. The Maricopa Sheriff’s Office of Arpaio and Sheridan was tough, inmates were held in a “tent city” even in Arizona’s sweltering heat while dogs where sheltered in the building that used to be the jail. Sheriff Joe is famous for being controversial and many people remain in possession of the famous “pink underwear” issued to Maricopa inmates over the years. It’s a system of law and justice that has worked for centuries but has grown out of style in today’s sensitive society.

To beat Penzone the winner will have to embrace being tough on crime but the most effective attacks will be using their experience as a critique to point out all the places that the new softer system has fallen short. “You didn’t use to see this kind of thing happen in Maricopa before Penzone and his Soros buddies took over,” is a line of attack that will land every time the campaign can uncover and bring attention to another inmate who was coddled and did something terrible over the last four years.

Leading The Posse

Sheriff Penzone has now run the Maricopa Sheriff’s Office for four years and just from a preliminary look at the opposition research there are lots of examples that would be impossible to defend. An army of researchers and investigators should be working around the clock digging for examples of recent failure.

The famous Maricopa Posse which was even the subject of a Steven Seagal reality TV show has been disbanded under Penzone but could be called upon by an effective campaign. Q know what I mean? Sheridan made bringing back the posse a major point of his campaign but many were hesitant to take shots at Sheriff Joe who they still hold in high regard.

Waiting For Resolution

According to Ballotpedia an automatic recall is triggered if:

1. One-tenth of one per cent of the number of votes cast for both such candidates or upon such measures or proposals.

2. Two hundred votes in the case of an office to be filled by state electors and for which the total number of votes cast is more than twenty-five thousand.

At 2am Sheriff Joe and Jerry had not yet spoken and both campaigns remained tight lipped as they waited to see if they would be the winner or the loser in situation that is as old as man. The old leader having suffered a defeat being challenged from within.

We’ll keep you updated.