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Joe Arpaio
Image: Flickr

Controversial Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, known for targeting illegal immigrants, fended off a strong challenge from a Phoenix police veteran on Tuesday to win a sixth four-year term.

Republican Arpaio, the 80-year-old lawman who styles himself “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” claimed victory over Democratic challenger Paul Penzone to hold on to office as sheriff of Maricopa County. An unofficial county tally showed Arpaio nearly 11 points ahead with 596 of 724 precincts reporting.

The battle for the sheriff’s badge in Arizona’s most populous county highlighted bitter national divisions over illegal immigration.

“The president … is going after me, but I will continue to enforce the laws, including illegal immigration. Nothing changes,” Arpaio told cheering supporters late on Tuesday, vowing to continue his drive to lock up illegals.

Source: Tim Gaynor for Reuters.

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