A campaign to force a recall election against the polarizing sheriff of metropolitan Phoenix failed on Thursday after recall organizers said they couldn't collect enough voter signatures to bring the lawman to the ballot again.
Organizers of the recall effort against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio needed to turn in more than 335,000 valid voter signatures by 5 p.m. Thursday to force a recall election.
"It is a sad day," said recall campaign manager Lilia Alvarez. "It is a disappointment."
Recall organizers won't reveal the number of signatures they gathered. That said, the last update they gave on their numbers five weeks ago was that they gathered 200,000 signatures.
"The count at this point doesn't matter," Alvarez said in deciding not to reveal the number of signatures gathered.
Arpaio issued a statement suggesting that recall organizers aren't revealing the number of signatures they gathered because they are embarrassed by the level of their failure. "This effort failed because the good people of Maricopa County, whom I'm honored to serve, rejected the wrong-headed idea of overturning an election," Arpaio said.
Arpaio supporters say the sheriff won re-election in November fair and square and that recall organizers shouldn't have been allowed to contest the election simply because they didn't like the outcome.
The recall effort began just weeks after the 80-year-old Republican sheriff started his sixth term in January. His November re-election race marked the second closest contest in his 20-year political career. He beat the closest candidate by 6 percentage points.