Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio recently filed a defamation lawsuit against theNew York Times for running a critical opinion piece of him. Arpaio’sseeks $147.5 million in damages as well as attorneys’ fees and other costs. The question is: why do you keep doing this, Joe?
Arpaio claims the op-ed damages his ability to fundraise and run for future political office, specifically the U.S. Senate in 2020. Of course, the idea that Arpaio would have been a successful candidate in 2020 absent the Times op-ed is ludicrous.
Arpaio is coming off a failed campaign for Senate, an attempt that saw him come in last place in his primary and garner less than 18 percent of the vote. That alone is far more damaging to his future electoral prospects than any one op-ed could be. This is without mentioning the fact that Arpaio would be 88 years old at the time of his next campaign.
Like it or not, the Times op-ed was an exercise of free speech. Candidates deal with negative opinion pieces all the time and still manage to find a way to fundraise for campaigns. In Arpaio’s case, this op-ed ran two years before his planned campaign and would have become an afterthought by then. The lawsuit is unrealistic, as is any belief that Arpaio could represent Arizona in the United States Senate.
Sheriff Joe is far past his prime and Arizonans simply don’t have an appetite for a Senator Arpaio. Part of life is knowing when to exit the stage. The more Arpaio pulls these stunts, the more he erases any semblance of upstanding public service he may have had from his reputation. Arpaio’s conviction of criminal contempt of court should have laid to rest any thought of future political campaigns once and for all. His 2018 Senate campaign is proof of that.
Sheriff Joe: it’s time to call it quits. There’s no need to compromise your reputation with memories of delusional campaigns and lawsuits.