PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- He worked for the sheriff's office for four decades. Now he hopes to lead it. But there are two obstacles standing in the way of Jerry Sheridan's plan: former Sheriff Joe Arpaio and current Sheriff Paul Penzone.
"I'm not Joe Arpaio. He's responsible for what he did, and I'm responsible for my actions, and that's the way I always looked at things. A lot of people wanted to put us together - that that we're one, one team, one person, and that's not accurate," said Sheridan.
There are several races across the state featuring politicians seeking a return to elected office, despite the scandal that surrounded their downfall.
Sheridan is running against Arpaio and Glendale police officer Mike Crawford in the Republican primary, which is set to take place Tuesday.
Sheridan says he differs from his old boss in style and substance.
"I'm very uncomfortable in front of the camera. He loved and lived for the media attention. I'm not a grandstander. He did a lot of things for media attention. I will do things for the betterment of the citizens of Maricopa County, and good law enforcement practices. Number two is I know how to run the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. I spent 40 years of my life there. I've had every rank from volunteer to the chief deputy. The only one left that I'm seeking now is the sheriff position itself," said Sheridan.
Fairly or not, the former chief deputy is connected to some of Arpaio's controversies. They include the mishandling of child sex crimes cases and the racial profiling case that Arpaio and the sheriff's office lost.
The former sheriff is one of four candidates in the crowded Aug. 4 GOP primary that will decide who moves on to challenge the current sheriff, Paul Penzone.
"I inherited those cases. There was a former chief deputy and other executive chiefs that were involved in those things. So, I don't have a problem standing here in front of you. And talking about those cases, because obviously I had to deal with them later on," said Sheridan.
Sheridan is critical of Arpaio, but he stops short of calling what the former sheriff did, "illegal."
"What happened was he and the executive chief that were working on the Melendrez case, they did target specific Hispanic neighborhoods to make those traffic stops. That's wrong." said Sheridan.
Sheridan says he is running because he heard from deputies who were unhappy with Penzone's leadership. He said he also wants to bring back the posse.
Reached for comment about the race, Arpaio said he had nothing negative to say about Sheridan. He said he decided to get into the race, after initially backing Sheridan, because he said voters contacted him and urged him to do so.