The Roundup -

Schwartzenberger Receives Arpaio Endorsement

 

September 26, 2018 | View PDF

McKenzie County Sheriff, Gary Schwartzenberger and former Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio. (Photo submitted)

McKenzie County Sheriff, Gary Schwartzenberger, has a new endorsement. Joe Arpaio, the prominent and controversial former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, has written a letter encouraging McKenzie County voters to reelect Schwartzenberger.

Arpaio, as a political figure, is a polemical lightning rod, having received accolades from some and condemnation from others during his 24-year tenure as sheriff in the Phoenix area. Nicknamed, "America's Toughest Sheriff," Arpaio first made headlines for mandating prisoners in his county jail live in tents and wear the color pink. Later, Arpaio gained media attention for investigating whether or not President Barack Obama's birth certificate was valid. Arpaio also drew ire for having a strong stance against illegal immigration, which ultimately led to several federal civil rights lawsuits against the sheriff. After being held in contempt of court in a federal ruling over the subject of his enforcement of immigration law, Arpaio was pardoned by President Donald Trump.

Other accusations against Arpaio have included abuse of power, wrongful arrest and entrapment, misconduct and mismanagement, misspending, election law violations and targeting of political opponents. Earlier this year, Arpaio announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate on the Republican ticket, but was defeated in the primary. He remains a very popular figure in conservative electoral politics and cultural commentary.

Schwartzenberger announced Arpaio's endorsement on Friday, September 21.

Arpaio wrote in a letter published on Schwartzenberger's Facebook page, "In my 60 years of law enforcement, I've faced many challenges. I've had to fight for the right to enforce the law and prevent political organizations from influencing the operation of my Sheriff's Office. Like myself, Sheriff Schwartzenberger has had to fight to preserve his office, taking his case all the way to the North Dakota Supreme Court, affirming the right of an elected sheriff to remain independent from other elected offices. The unanimous Supreme Court ruling has strengthened the sheriff's offices all across North Dakota."

Arpaio continued, "Sheriff Gary Schwartzenberger was elected four years ago to modernize, improve the function, and professionalize the McKenzie County Sheriff's Office. Sometimes, people don't like change, but when old standards no longer compliment the law or don't serve the people, new policies and practices must be adopted, implemented and enforced in order to better serve the citizens of McKenzie County."

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, eventually reinstated Schwartzenberger, who was suspended from his office for an accusation of the misapplication of entrusted property. Regarding the Supreme Court decision cited in Arpaio's letter of endorsement, Schwartzenberger vs. McKenzie County Commissioners found that county officials could not restrict an elected sheriff's authority to fire an employee hired by the sheriff or mandate discipline of an employee of the sheriff. The decision also iterated the limited capacity in which commissioners could interfere with the internal working of the sheriff's department.

Arpaio wrote to McKenzie County voters, "When Sheriff Schwartzenberger was elected, many people viewed him as a threat to the 'Good Old Boy' system and sought to obstruct him. Despite strong opposition, Sheriff Gary has put a stop to waste, abuse, and enforced the law."

 

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