Gage Skidmore/via Flickr

Washington State Politico Beat Sheriff Joe Once, and He’s Ready to Do It Again

With Arpaio talking about running again, Ron Dotzauer just has to laugh.

A presidential pardon in hand, Arizona’s “Sheriff Joe” Arpaio may be getting ready to hitch up his spurs for another campaign.

The ink had barely dried on his legal absolution from President Donald Trump when Arpaio, the nation’s best known Republican sheriff, started talking a little smack about returning to the arena of politics from which he got booted by voters in 2016.

The local cowboy who helped kick out the controversial lawman in front of a national audience is ready to best him again.

“Anything he talks about doing politically is delusional. I’d love to do a round two with him,” said Ron Dotzauer, founder and chief executive officer of Strategies 360, a burgeoning consulting company headquartered in Seattle.

Democrat Paul Penzone, who lost to Arpaio in 2012, hired Strategies 360 to run his campaign for the rematch and it paid off with a convincing 12-point victory in November.

Dotzauer, whose career in Washington politics dates back to his days alongside U.S. Sen. Henry Jackson, said he had his doubts when his staff in Phoenix approached him about taking Penzone on as a client.

Among those asking was Stacy Pearson, an adviser to Penzone in the 2012 campaign who is now senior vice president of the company’s Arizona operation.

“I said, ‘Why?’ And they said, ‘We think we can beat him,’ ” Dotzauer recalled Monday. “I knew he was a bad man doing bad things. I honestly wasn’t sure we could beat him but my team in Phoenix convinced me we could do it.”

Penzone beat Arpaio by a margin of 56 percent to 44 percent. It’s impressive considering Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton by four points in Maricopa County. Trump tallied 747,361 votes. Arpaio finished with 665,581 votes in the sheriff’s race. Penzone outperformed both with 861,757 votes.

Strategies 360 found a way to win over Trump voters to Penzone’s side.

Latino voters also rose up against the man whose manner of identifying and incarcerating undocumented immigrants had run afoul of the law. Arpaio was indicted in October on criminal contempt charges for failing to modify his tactics. He was convicted in July but pardoned before sentencing.

Trump, in discussing his pardon Monday, said the Obama administration cost “Sheriff Joe” the election by targeting him with those charges.

“He lost in a fairly close election,” Trump said. “He would have won the election, but they just hammered him just before the election. I thought this was a very, very unfair thing to do.”

Dotzauer’s response: “Twelve points is not fairly close. He is completely ill-informed about the race.”

Dotzauer said the win in Arizona earned him “high fives and handshakes all over the country.”

Arpaio’s political plans now don’t include waiting for 2020 and a rubber match with Penzone. He’s talking about a 2018 bid for mayor of Phoenix, a seat in the Legislature or even the U.S. Senate. Arizona’s GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, of whom Trump is not too fond, would be the ex-sheriff’s target.

Dotzauer wouldn’t mind getting involved.

“I’d love him to try and run again,” he said. “He’s not going to jail now. He’s done politically.”

jcornfield@heraldnet.com

This story originally appeared in the Everett Herald.

More in News & Comment

Most of the tenants at show cause hearings have fallen behind on rent, said Housing Justice Project Managing Attorney Edmund Witter. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
New Report Details Seattle’s Eviction Trends

Analysis of 2017 county records and interviews show that nearly 90 percent of evicted tenants experienced homelessness

Daron Morris Suspends Campaign for King County Prosecutor

After running as a reformer, Morris says medical reasons are preventing him from finishing the race.

Democratic incumbent Rep. Adam Smith of Washington’s 9th Congressional District (right) and challenger Sarah Smith discuss the issues facing the district during a forum the Mirror hosted on Sept. 19. Andy Hobbs/staff photo
Smith vs. Smith: Two Democrats Clash in 9th Congressional District Forum

Democratic socialist Sarah Smith seeks ‘bold new progressive vision’ in bid to replace incumbent Adam Smith.

Teen Immigrants in Washington Programs Claim Sexual Assault and Rape

Police reports from federally-funded facilities in Renton and Fife call the minors’ safety into question.

It’s Official: Safeco Field Will Get $135 Million in Taxpayer Funds

Critical King County Councilmembers call plan “a fleecing” and “irresponsible.”

The Westin Seattle workers represented by Unite Here Local 8 gather at Gethsemane Lutheran Church after voting to strike on Sep. 14. Photo by Abby Lawlor
Hotel Workers Vote to Authorize Strike

The Westin Seattle employees will picket to demand higher wages from Marriott International.

King County Moves to Expand Pre-Booking Diversion Program

Three cities could get money to link low-level drug offenders to services and keep them out of jail.

Immigrant Youth Vulnerable to Abuse in Centers

Federally-funded facilities struggle to maintain health and safety of minors stuck in limbo

Most Read