Phoenix, AZ – Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the popular law enforcer who forced inmates to live in tents and practiced hawkish immigration policies, has announced he will run for Senate in Arizona in the 2018 Republican primary.
“I have a lot to offer. I’m a big supporter of President Trump,” Arpaio told the 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.”
Arpaio, 85, served as sheriff of Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix and its surrounding suburbs, for 24 years, until he was defeated by a Democrat in the 2016 election.
Eight months after his defeat, the former sheriff was convicted of criminal contempt for having ignored a judge’s order to stop detaining immigrants simply because he suspected that they lacked legal status, The Washington Post reported.
President Trump granted Arpaio the first unconditional pardon of his administration in August, and said he believed the former sheriff was treated “unbelievably unfairly.”
Rep. Martha McSally was expected to announce her candidacy for the seat of retiring Senator Jeff Flake this week. Conservative Kelli Ward has already announced her candidacy.
Flake predicted Arpaio’s Senate campaign won’t last long, according to CNN.
“Write about it fast cause it won’t last long,” he told reporters after an immigration-focused meeting at the White House.
Throughout his law enforcement career, Arpaio had a reputation as a no-nonsense cop. He was both praised and criticized for his strict opposition to illegal immigration and unorthodox policing methods, according to the Washington Examiner.
“My mother and father came here from Italy, legally of course. I have a soft spot for the Mexican community having lived there,” Arpaio told the Washington Examiner. “I’m not going to get into my personal life, but I will say we have four grandkids and some have a different ethnic and racial background. I don’t say that. I don’t use my grandkids. So, I have a soft spot, but still, I’m going to do my job. You have to do it.”
“Being a U.S. senator is a little different than being the sheriff, because you can do a lot of things in the U.S. Senate, and I have many plans, believe me. It’s tough. It’s a tough decision. But, if you’re going to come across that border, you should be arrested and get the consequences of it,” Arpaio said.
The former sheriff said he’s looking forward to the fireworks that will inevitably explode now that he’s announced his candidacy.
“I am outspoken. I’m looking forward to it. Let them come. They’ll have their political firing squads and bring tons of money here, because they don’t want to lose,” he said. “I just want to do everything I can to support our president.”
Arpaio didn’t release many details of his campaign platform beyond immigration, but promised voters in Arizona that he would support President Trump completely if elected.
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