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Sheriff Joe Arpaio dodges a recall in Arizona. Still, is his star waning?

Foes did not collect enough signatures to force a recall election of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the controversial law officer from Arizona known for his tough immigration-enforcement stance.

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Simon Lopez (l.) and Hiliaro Islas hold signs while trying to collect signatures in an effort to recall Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Wednesday, in downtown Phoenix. Organizers of a campaign aimed at ousting Arpaio face a deadline Thursday afternoon for handing signatures to force a recall election against the lawman.

Matt York/AP

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Three years after Arizona approved a tough immigration law that brought both praise and disdain from across the nation, most of the measure's standard-bearers are but a memory in state politics. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio remains the last man standing.

Mr. Arpaio on Thursday sidestepped a recall attempt, just a week after a federal judge ruled that the sheriff's office had engaged in systematic discrimination against Latinos in violation of their constitutional rights. Still, he is wobbling.

"I don't think he's the political force he once was," says David Berman, a senior fellow at Arizona State University's Morrison Institute for Public Policy.

Could you pass a US citizenship test? Could you pass a US citizenship test?
 

The May 24 ruling from US District Judge Murray Snow, who ordered Arpaio to stop using race or ancestry as a basis for traffic stops and detentions, was a setback for the sheriff's trademark immigration enforcement, which had made him a superstar among supporters of the state's crackdown on illegal immigration. The judge's decision came as a result of a class-action suit filed by several Latinos.

Recall campaign organizers had seized on the ruling to boost signature-gathering, but nonetheless fell short of the 335,000 needed by Thursday to force a special election.

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