Former Arizona Department of Corrections Officer Joe Rodriguez says he's suspending his campaign to run for Maricopa County sheriff.
Rodriguez announced Monday that he's doing so to support another candidate -- retired Phoenix police Officer Paul Penzone -- who's challenging incumbent Joe Arpaio.
Penzone lost the 2012 sheriff's race by 6 percentage points in what was the second closest election in Arpaio's 23 years in office.
Rodriguez says the best way forward for the Democratic party and the county is to unite behind Penzone's candidacy.
Besides Penzone, William Hall alsp is in the race's Democratic field.
Arpaio's Republican challengers are former Buckeye Police Chief Dan Saban plus Roger Baldwin, Mike Bodak and Marsha Hill.
Saban ran unsuccessfully against Arpaio in 2004 and 2008.
Independent Kenneth Baker also is running.