By JJ Hensley
The Republic | azcentral.com
A political group called Respect Arizona has filed paperwork with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office to launch a campaign to recall Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Petition Partners, one of the largest petition-circulation companies in Arizona, posted a social-media message earlier in the week stating that Respect Arizona had “$1.3 million dedicated to the recall of Joe Arpaio.”
Respect Arizona will need to collect more than 350,000 valid signatures in the next 120 days to force a recall election, according to petition gatherers.
Arpaio was elected in November to his sixth consecutive term in office, in one of the closest races he has endured. Arpaio received nearly 680,000 votes to best his closest opponent, former Phoenix police Sgt. Paul Penzone, who finished with nearly 600,000 votes. A third candidate, former Scottsdale police Lt. Mike Stauffer, received about 62,000 votes.
Arpaio filed paperwork last week indicating that he plans to run again in 2016, when he will be 84 years old.
Arpaio’s campaign manager released a statement in response to the recall effort, questioning why the effort was undertaken months after the election and calling on the recall campaign to release the names of donors.
The group held a news conference Thursday about the recall effort, and organizers were not immediately available for comment. The group’s treasurer has spoken out against Arpaio at County Board of Supervisors meetings in the past, and Randy Parraz, a vocal Arpaio opponent who also participated in an effort to recall former Senate president Russell Pearce, returned a phone call to the group’s headquarters.
It will not be the first time Arpaio has faced a recall effort. The Committee to Recall Arpaio formed in 2005 and disbanded in 2006 without forcing a recall election. Arizonans for the U.S. Constitution and Recall of Joe Arpaio formed in 2007 and disbanded in 2008, also without forcing a recall election.