Sold-out Arpaio speech to draw protest |

Sold-out Arpaio speech to draw protest

Protestors of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's upcoming visit to Gardnerville gather in front of the Elk's Lodge Thursday evening.
Brad Coman |

Not everyone who will be in Minden on Sunday will be there to greet former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Some will be there to demonstrate in opposition to the controversial sheriff’s sold-out keynote speech at the Lincoln-Reagan Dinner.

Douglas County Republican Central Committee Chairman Dick Schwabe said the last tickets were sold eight days after news of Arpaio’s speech hit the newspapers.

Zephyr Heights resident Ed Andrews said protesters, who turned out to demonstrate at the Republican central committee meeting last week, were a preview of Sunday’s effort.

“We almost thought of it as an opening vigil,” he said. “The real event is on Sunday. I’m personally less interested in protesting the event itself. My real interest is in putting pressure on the local Republican Party in advance to make people in our own community think and talk about it.”

Republicans have had Arpaio scheduled to speak since November, Schwabe said.

“We originally approached the sheriff to speak at our fall Heritage Day Barbecue at Dangberg Ranch,” Schwabe said. “He was unavailable then. However, he said he would like to speak at another of our events. We gave him that opportunity when we invited him in late October to speak at our February Lincoln-Reagan dinner. He accepted in early November and our executive board approved his appearance, as our keynote speaker, almost immediately thereafter.”

Arpaio’s speech has been the topic of dozen letters to The Record-Courier, both against and in favor.

Arpaio served as sheriff of Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, from 1993 to 2016.

According to his web site, he served in the U.S. Army before becoming a police officer in Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas. He became a federal narcotics agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and ran for sheriff after retiring. He has announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.

Arpaio was pardoned by President Trump in August 2017 after being convicted of criminal contempt of court the prior month.

More than half of Douglas County’s registered voters are Republicans. Slightly fewer than a quarter of the county’s voters are Democrats.