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Bid to force recall of Ariz. sheriff fails

Joe Arpaio, 80, is in his sixth term as sheriff.

Joe Arpaio, 80, is in his sixth term as sheriff.

PHOENIX — A campaign to force a recall election against the polarizing sheriff of metropolitan Phoenix has failed.

Recall organizers said Thursday that they couldn’t collect enough voter signatures to bring Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to the polls again. They needed to turn in more than 335,000 valid signatures by 5 p.m. Thursday.

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‘‘It is a sad day,’’ campaign manager Lilia Alvarez said. ‘‘It is a disappointment.’’

Recall organizers won’t reveal the number of signatures they gathered. In their last update, given five weeks ago, organizers said they had gathered 200,000 signatures.

‘‘The count at this point doesn’t matter,’’ Alvarez said.

Arpaio issued a statement suggesting that recall organizers aren’t revealing the number of signatures they gathered because they are embarrassed by the level of the shortfall. ‘‘This effort failed because the good people of Maricopa County, whom I’m honored to serve, rejected the wrong-headed idea of overturning an election,’’ Arpaio said.

The recall effort began just weeks after the 80-year-old Republican sheriff started his sixth term in January.

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