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Defeating Joe Arpaio


You might have heard of Joe "Sheriff Joe" Arpaio, the infamous Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. Since his first election in 1993, Arpaio gained national infamy for what his supporters called "toughness," but opponents -- and courts -- characterized as a pattern of racial profiling, inhumane conditions, uninvestigated sex crimes, and abuses of power. Put simply, Joe needed to go. The election wouldn't be easy, though. Maricopa County leans strongly Republican, and Arpaio raised over $12 million 


That's why Progressive Strategies NW team was so excited to join the 2016 campaign of former Phoenix Police Sergeant Paul Penzone. Using our expertise with voter targeting and demography, PSNW helped Penzone's campaign on many fronts, including:


  • Identifying lower-propensity voters, especially Latinos, who could be mobilized to the polls
  • Targeting digital ads to inform Republican-leaning, suburban swing voters to highlight Arpaio's failures in addressing sex crimes and the opioid epidemic
  • Creating highly targeted phone and walk-lists and identifying key neighborhoods for outreach based on past partisan and issue voting
  • Analyzing incoming data, including voter response, to ensure resources were effectively distributed and messages were resonating


Our evidence-based approach indicated these persuasion efforts would be effective – and they were. On Election Day, Penzone defeated "Sheriff Joe" by a stunning margin of 56% to 44%.


PSNW was incredibly proud to be a part of this effort. An effectively-run campaign combines an effective message, thoughtful voter targeting message, and a comprehensive plan to ensure the right message reaches the right voters with the right frequency. That's exactly what we love doing for clients.