01/31/2013 10:08 am ET

Joe Arpaio Recall Effort Launched By Respect Arizona Political Committee

Opponents of Maricopoa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio are attempting once again to oust him.

A political committee called Respect Arizona filed registration paperwork Wednesday to recall one of the country’s most controversial sheriffs, the Phoenix New Times reports.

Some of the leaders of the recall campaign also helped unseat former Senate President Russell Pearce, who authored the state’s famous crackdown on illegal immigration, SB 1070, the Arizona Capitol Times reports. Pearce lost his state senate seat in a recall election in 2011.

But Arpaio will likely be more difficult to force from office. He remains a popular figure among Arizona conservatives and has a wide fundraising network. His campaign raised around 80 percent of its money from out-of-state donors in last year’s election, according to The Arizona Republic.

To succeed in its efforts, the campaign will have to collect more than 300,000 signatures to force a recall election and then defeat Arpaio at the polls, according to the Phoenix New Times.

Nevertheless, there are signs that support for Arpaio has slackened somewhat in recent years. He has faced a racial profiling lawsuit from the Department of Justice and a class action suit based on his treatment of Latinos. He also faces criticism for mishandling more than 400 sex abuse cases, many of them filed by undocumented immigrants. He won his last election with 50.7 percent of the vote in a three-way race -- a smaller margin of victory than in previous years.

Arpaio has held the elected position of Maricopa County Sheriff for 20 years. Though sworn in just two weeks ago, he has already filed for reelection in 2016, according to the Arizona Capitol Times.



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