Arizona’s primary election is just one week away. And despite a Federal court call for Sheriff Joe Arpaio to face criminal Contempt charges, polls still show him with commanding leads. Political watcher Michael O’Neil says, the timing of the Sheriff’s continuing legal problems with a looming

primary may actually help him, giving Arpaio the opportunity to point out how the court system is victimizing him, which can only resonate with his most loyal voters, who will more than likely turn out in droves to cast their votes for him in the primary.

But O’Neil says, the November election may be another matter with all Maricopa county voters weighing in on the Sheriff. O’Neil says less forgiving voters will be entering the fray, including Independents and Democrats, his most strident critics, mindful of the disgrace Arpaio’s faced in court–being convicted of violating a court order to stop racial profiling, and then, according to Federal Judge Murray Snow, the Sheriff “lying to my face” about the infractions. O’Neil says Arpaio has surely fallen out of favor with other Republicans, including moderates, but their numbers are so small they won’t impact the Sheriff’s support for re-election.

O’neil predicts, if the Sheriff is found guilty of Criminal Contempt, his legal team could well negotiate a settlement allowing the Sheriff to resign from office, rather than sending him to prison.

–Barbara Villa