The controversial former sheriff who received a pardon from President Donald Trump has announced he is running for Senate in Arizona.
Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, 85, had been convicted this summer of ignoring court orders to stop a police department practice of racial profiling related to pursuing undocumented immigrants and sentenced to jail time, but was spared by Trump — who had repeatedly expressed support for the disgraced sheriff.
I am running for the U.S. Senate from the Great State of Arizona, for one unwavering reason: to support the agenda and policies of President Donald Trump in his mission to Make America Great Again. https://t.co/ANppBdDOtp
— Sheriff Joe Arpaio (@RealSheriffJoe) January 9, 2018
Arpaio had branded himself as a “tough on crime” sheriff, but his racist and illegal tactics on immigration earned him plenty of criticism from both sides of the aisle. He was also a vocal supporter of Trump’s presidential campaign, which he mentioned as a reason he should be elected.
“I have a lot to offer. I’m a big supporter of President Trump,” Arpaio said to Washington Examiner. “I’m going to have to work hard; you don’t take anything for granted. But I would not being doing this if I thought that I could not win. I’m not here to get my name in the paper, I get that everyday, anyway.”
Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake announced this year that he would not be seeking another term and Arpaio could make some noise in the August GOP primary. Flake — along with fellow Republican Senator John McCain — has had a rocky relationship with the president and his far-right nationalism.
Arpaio had served as the sheriff of Maricopa County — which covers the Phoenix area — for 24 years until voters elected a Democrat in his place in 2016.
Republicans currently hold a narrow 51-49 majority in the Senate.