PHOENIX (AP) — Voters have booted Sheriff Joe Arpaio from office in his bid for a seventh term after his legal problems in a racial profiling case culminated in a criminal charge two weeks before Election Day.
Arpaio, an 84-year-old Republican who became a national figure by cracking down on illegal immigration and forcing jail inmates to wear pink underwear, lost to Democrat Paul Penzone.
The race became a referendum on Arpaio's legal woes. Federal prosecutors brought a contempt-of-court charge stemming from his defiance of a judge's order to stop carrying out patrols targeting Latinos.
Arpaio has faced criminal investigations in the past without being charged or losing his seat. That changed Tuesday despite a devoted base of supporters and strong fundraising, mainly from out-of-state donors.
He still faces the possibility of jail time.
Statement from Arpaio campaign on the election results:
"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the people as Sheriff of Maricopa County for the last 24 years.
"Tonight, the people have spoken. And while Ava and I are disappointed in the results we respect their decision.
"We want to congratulate Paul Penzone on his victory and look forward to working with him on a seamless transition.
"My thanks and appreciation to the people of Maricopa County for the faith and trust they put in me over the years.
"I am also tremendously grateful for the hard work and dedication of every employee of my office. Their selfless and tireless dedication in protecting and serving the people is to be greatly admired."