Robert Robb has an interesting piece in our paper today about the challenges in defeating even a deeply flawed Joe Arpaio in the Republican primary. In doing so, he reminds us of some (but by no means all) of Arpaio's worst characteristics, and makes a good case for why dark money in elections makes sense:
The missing element in the anti-Arpaio coalition is actually the business community.
Arpaio's war chest doesn't have to be matched. But making the case against him would require a campaign in the $2-$3 million range, beyond the reach of what an opponent is going to be able to raise.
If Arpaio is to be defeated, the business community probably has to conclude that he's enough of a damaging menace to warrant funding an independent campaign in that range. But the money isn't the only hurdle.
With Arpaio, there's a risk of criminal investigations and bogus criminal charges if you oppose him. That's part of what makes him a damaging menace. So, any such independent campaign would likely have to be by a dark-money group that didn't disclose its contributors.
It would be fascinating to watch the dark-money scolds react to a dark-money campaign to defeat Arpaio while protecting donors against his documented retaliatory proclivities.