The self-proclaimed “Toughest Sheriff in America” is the most vulnerable he has ever been in his entire political career. Despite his vulnerability, he unabashedly and without shame, recently announced he was running for a 7th term as Sheriff. Yes, even after disobeying a federal judge, tens of millions of lawsuit settlements, civil rights violations, malfeasance and mismanagement of his office, he still has the audacity to run for sheriff. You want to know why he continues to run and win? Simple, he takes advantage of his opponents’ disorganization.
Some say that Arpaio is already weakened and can no longer do harm. That’s a fantasy. Besides, making him weak shouldn’t be our goal, our goal should be to completely end his reign of terror.
- Carlos Sierra
Sheriff Arpaio won his last election with only 50.66 percent of the vote after spending $8 Million. Eight million dollars, an imperfect Democratic nominee, a spoiler Independent candidate, and all he got was 50.66 percent.
In 2012, Congressman Ruben Gallego (then state representative), and I co-chaired an independent committee in charge of defeating Arpaio. We unfortunately did not succeed. Too little too late as they say. Had we all worked together early on and put the public interest before self-interest and party politics, we could’ve beat him then.
So what do we do? The most important component of this, or any other strategy, is to have a viable, credible, and well-funded candidate. Although I respect anyone who has the courage to face Arpaio and the attacks that come along with it, we have never had a well-funded candidate that could realistically beat Arpaio. We now have that potential candidate and his name is U.S. Marshal David Gonzales. Although he has not publicly admitted to running, rumors have it he will in fact be running this cycle as a Democrat or as an Independent. David was originally nominated by President Bush and then re-nominated by President Obama to serve as U.S. Marshal for the District of Arizona. He is credible, has bi-partisan support, and has a better law enforcement resume than Sheriff Arpaio. Bottom line is he can win, but here is what we must do:
1.- We must force Arpaio to run a costly campaign in the GOP Primary. Just last week, former Buckeye Police Chief Dan Saban announced that he would be challenging Sheriff Joe in the GOP Primary. Best case scenario is Dan beats Arpaio in the primary and worst case scenario is Dan forces Arpaio to spend money. If Dan loses, he should endorse U.S. Marshal David Gonzales and deliver the votes he received in the GOP Primary. This allows for two opportunities to defeat Arpaio.
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2.- Initiate a Draft U.S. Marshal David Gonzales committee to begin promoting him and getting his name id up, ultimately convincing him to run once he sees the financial backing is there.
3.- Republican and Democratic leaders must support U.S. Marshal David Gonzales whether he decides to run as a Democrat or as an Independent. Put your partisanship aside and do what’s right. Country before Party!
4.- National political powerhouses such as Daniel Garza with The Libre Initiative and Cristóbal J. Alex with The Latino Victory Project must put their differences aside and join forces for this one race. Their financial and political resources should be utilized toward an independent committee that promotes David Gonzales and attacks Sheriff Arpaio.
5.- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and various Labor Unions must also come together and contribute financially and politically through an independent committee.
6.- Well established Arizona non-profits like the Puente Movement and Mi Familia Vota must continue to register Hispanic voters and execute the best Get Out The Vote effort they have ever conducted.
Some say that Arpaio is already weakened and can no longer do harm. That’s a fantasy. Besides, making him weak shouldn’t be our goal, our goal should be to completely end his reign of terror. We must make an example of him so that other politicians do not mimic him and think they will be safe at the ballot box. If this united front succeeds, we can create a blueprint for ending the careers of other like-minded politicians. Just imagine if we could’ve put a stop to the policies and ideas of Sheriff Arpaio, Congressman Tancredo, Congressman Steve King, and Senate President Russell Pearce, sooner?
Carlos Sierra handled community outreach for U.S. Senator John McCain, was the 2008 Southwest Coalitions Director for McCain-Palin and has run dozens of campaigns. He was also the Co-Chairman of the Committee to Defeat Sheriff Arpaio in 2012. He can be reached at www.carlossierra.us.