Are Sheriff Arpaio's woes a boost for opponent in 2012?

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PHOENIX--The 2012 elections are still a long way out, but Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has his official re-election campaign up and running.

At least one opponent has jumped in the race to challenge him.

Scottsdale Police Lt. Mike Stauffer is new to politics but has worked in law enforcement for 28 years. Like Arpaio, he is a conservative republican but he says that's where the similarities end.

"I will not be a media-driven sheriff. I will be a public safety-driven sheriff," said Stauffer. "My operations and my agency won't be driven by headlines but what actually solves problems and what keeps the public safe."

On Arpaio's campaign website he writes in a letter to supporters, "We anticipate the hardest campaign in Maricopa County history to remove me due to my unyielding stance on illegal immigration enforcement."   

In recent months the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has been accused of misspending tens of millions of dollars and allowing an environment of unprofessionalism and intimidation to fester. Last month Arpaio fired his two top aides after the release of a damaging outside report.

Stauffer says he believes the bad press for Arpaio will work to his advantage.

"I think the time is right now for a new candidate, for the people of Maricopa County to have a choice," said Stauffer.

Arpaio was unavailable for an interview Saturday evening. His campaign spokesperson says they have no statement on Stauffer's entry to the race at this time.