Arizona’s three most populous counties now have new sheriffs after the election defeats of top lawmen in Pima and Maricopa counties and the decision by the Pinal County sheriff to make a failed bid for a congressional seat.
The new year shake-up means two well-known and politically savvy sheriffs, Joe Arpaio in Maricopa County and Paul Babeu in Pinal County, no longer have a high visibility office to send a national message. Pima County’s sheriff was less well-known, but the defeat of Democrat Chris Nanos came as he was ensnared in controversy over how his office managed its finances.
Replacing Nanos is Republican Mark Napier, while Mark Lamb replaces Babeu after beating his Democratic opponent in the general election. Democrat Paul Penzone will be sworn in Wednesday to replace Arpaio.