Former Phoenix Police Sgt. Paul Penzone has quite the race ahead of him. He won a Democratic primary on Tuesday and will now face off against flamboyant Sheriff Joe Arpaio for the top law enforcement job in troubled Maricopa County, Ariz.
Penzone defeated challenger John Rowan by a wide margin, according to a report in the Arizona Daily Sun.
Arpaio is looking to secure a sixth term in office in November’s general election. Fueled by donations from out-of-state conservatives who like his tough talk on immigration and his high-profile role in the “birther” movement, Arpaio has raised more than $7.5 million for his re-election. Penzone, in comparison, had about $72,000 in campaign funds, according to a report in the Arizona Republic.
Despite the immense difference in funds, Penzone had strong words for the Republican incumbent last night.
“He can pile up his tank, his green bologna, his pink underwear and his tents, and we will go through it, over it and around it … whatever we need to do to restore integrity to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office,” Penzone said, according to the Republic.
Arpaio, a border hawk, has earned national notoriety for forcing inmates to wear pink underwear and erecting a “tent city” as a jail space, both of which have become hallmarks of the sheriff.
The Justice Department is investigating allegations his office has discriminated against Latinos. The department sued Arpaio in May to compel the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office to comply with the department’s probe. The Arizona sheriff also made headlines with his own racially tinged investigation of the validity of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate, which he has said is a forgery.