Despite raising more than $12 million in donations, the 84-year-old once known as "American's toughest sheriff" lost by nearly 10 percentage points to his Democratic opponent, former Phoenix police chief Paul Penzone. Arpaio held the position for 24 years and became a national symbol of strict anti-immigration measures, often boasting about his harsh and unconventional tactics in law enforcement.
Arpaio bragged in 2012 that his aggressive crusade against the undocumented was able to apprehend 50,000 immigrants living in the U.S. without official papers, about 10 percent of the 500,000 estimated to be residing in the state of Arizona. He went out of his way to humiliate his inmates, forcing them to wear pink underwear and live in outdoor tents under the hot southwestern sun. He fed them strangely colored meats and gave only bread and water to those who did not follow orders.
The now-former sheriff's techniques were met with backlash. Arpaio first faced legal issues in 2007 when he was issued a court order for racial profiling. He ignored it and appealed further attempts to find his administration guilty of unfairly targeting Hispanics. In September, Maricopa County agreed to pay out $4.5 million legal fees to plaintiffs involved in Arpaio's case. The county had reportedly shelved out $10.4 million already.
Perhaps Arpaio's biggest downfall was the social fallout of his work. The changing demographics of Arizona have worked in favor of Hispanic voters. In response to Arpaio's bid for re-election, community groups formed a grassroots coalition called Bazta Arpaio, a play on the Spanish word "basta," meaning "enough," and the state's abbreviation.
Following Arpaio's defeat, organizers could be seen celebrating, shouting victory slogans and calling for Arpaio's conviction for racial profiling as they demonstrated in front of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Headquarters.