Trump Effect? Joe Arpaio now 15 points down as he faces DoJ charges for contempt
Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona speaking at the Tea Party Patriots American Policy Summit in Phoenix, Arizona (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

The latest Arizona polls put Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio 15 points behind his Democratic counterpart, Paul Penzone in his re-election bid, the Hill reports.


According to the Arizona Republic/Morrison/Cronkite News, Arpaio trails Penzone's 46 percent at 31 percent. Arpaio has been a fervent Donald Trump supporter, particularly because of the Republican nominee's views on immigration and border security.

The Huffington Post reports that Arpaio's numbers took a hit because survey respondents had just learned he was being charged for criminal contempt of court. Last week, the Department of Justice announced plans to charge the Arizona sheriff.

Back in August, Arpaio had ignored a court order to stop racial profiling and detaining Latinos in Arizona. For years, his department has allegedly targeted both legal and undocumented immigrants repeatedly.

The New York Times reported at the time:

[Bailey and Iafate] were both accused of withholding information from a court-appointed monitor about the existence of 1,459 IDs seized in law enforcement operations.

Ultimately, though, Judge Snow laid the blame squarely on Sheriff Arpaio. “The court,” he wrote, “has reminded Sheriff Arpaio that he is the party to the lawsuit, not his subordinates, and thus the failure of his subordinates to carry out this court’s orders would amount to his own failure to do so.”

In his decision, Judge Snow removed several of Sheriff Arpaio’s powers, including his ability to oversee internal affairs investigations. The judge had already found that Sheriff Arpaio and his deputies had mishandled and manipulated such investigations, in part to obscure wrongdoing or neglect by deputies.

The Hill notes that the latest polling numbers in the state reflect its status this year as a battleground state, specifically because it has historically gone red.