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By: Nick Blumberg on 08/28/2012
Former Phoenix Police Sergeant Paul Penzone won the Democratic primary for Maricopa County Sheriff on Tuesday. As KJZZ’s Nick Blumberg reports, he faces a well-known incumbent with big campaign coffers … and a second, independent challenger.
NICK BLUMBERG: Paul Penzone beat former New York City cop and Goodyear police employee John Rowan in Tuesday’s primary election by a wide margin. In November, he’ll face Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the Republican candidate, and former Scottsdale policeman Mike Stauffer, who’s running as an Independent. Though Arpaio’s facing the lowest approval rating of his 20-year career as sheriff, political observers have said two challengers run the risk of splitting the anti-Arpaio vote. But Paul Penzone says he’s prepared to win.
PAUL PENZONE: The same plan that I had from day one is the one that continues, which is – I will be the best candidate, the one who shows through my career, when you take a look at what I’ve accomplished and who I’ve worked with, that I am best suited to be the sheriff no matter if it’s one, two, three, four people in the race with me. That includes the current sheriff. I will be the strongest candidate going into November.
BLUMBERG: Political consultant Chip Scutari thinks the race for sheriff might be a lot closer than some people think.
CHIP SCUTARI: The real tipping point is [if] Paul Penzone and his supporters convince enough establishment Republicans like a Senator John McCain, a Senator Jon Kyl to say, ‘It’s time for Joe Arpaio to go.’
BLUMBERG: Whether it’s endorsements, fundraising, or just getting his name out there, Penzone has a major challenge ahead.