September 7, 2004
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio defeated his Republican opponent in Tuesday's primary election and likely is headed to his fourth consecutive term.
Arpaio led challenger Dan Saban by a hefty margin late Tuesday; elections officials won't know the final tally for at least a week.
"I did everything you should do when you run for office," Arpaio said. "Evidently the people believed in my performance."
Saban said he leaves the campaign proud.
"We came into this 15 months ago with no name and no money and we pulled down 44 percent of the vote," said Saban, who retired from his job as a commander with the Mesa Police Department to run.
Although Arpaio won convincingly, Saban managed to take a bite out the world-renowned sheriff's popularity.
It was the closest race Arpaio has been in since his first election in 1992, when he beat incumbent Tom Agnos by 4 percentage points.
In 1996 he ran unopposed and he won 74 percent of the vote in 2000's primary against Jerry Robertson.
Arpaio now will face Independent W. Steven Martin and Democrat Robert Ayala in the Nov. 2 general election.
A poll conducted five weeks ago by the Behavior Research Center showed Arpaio would win that race easily.
"I like what he's done," said Janine Manley of Mesa, standing outside a precinct where she just cast her ballot.
She said she had just canceled out her husband's vote.
Arpaio, who polls have shown is one of the most popular politicians in the state, has received bad press lately. Last month it became known that Arpaio's detectives secretly were tape recording prosecutors after Maricopa County Attorney Richard Romley refused to prosecute prostitutes picked up in a sting because undercover deputies got naked and touched them inappropriately.
In the race against Saban, Arpaio fought off an intense campaign that included endorsements for Saban from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and local police and firefighter unions and factions of the Republican party.
Arpaio countered by spending about $140,000 since June 1, much of it in television advertising.