Pardoned former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio announces Senate run


In the 24 years he served as sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona's most populous county, from 1993 to 2017, Arpaio established not only a statewide profile but a national profile, primarily for his tactics to combat illegal immigration and his criticism of attempts by Washington lawmakers, both Republican and Democrat, to pass immigration reform.

President Trump, who campaigned with Arpaio in 2016, issued a controversial pardon a year ago.

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona has announced he is not running for re-election.

In an interview with the Examiner, Arpaio said, "I have a lot to offer".

A protester dressed up as former Sheriff Joe Arpaio in KKK robes at an August President Donald Trump rally in Phoenix, Arizona. He is saying that I'm not going to last more than a month, that I will leave.

"What ego? You guys forgot me the day I left office anyway".

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Arpaio will have to compete for right-wing support with candidate Kelli Ward, a former doctor and Arizona state senator who has already made a failed bid for the U.S. Senate as a conservative.

Arpaio couldn't win re-election as sheriff in Republican-rich Maricopa County in 2016, when Donald Trump won Arizona. Unlike other local police leaders who left it to US authorities, Arpaio made hundreds of arrests in traffic patrols that sought out immigrants and business raids in which his officers targeted immigrants who used fraudulent IDs to get jobs.

He was later accused of investigating the judge who presided over a racial profiling case against the sheriff's office and whose order Arpaio ignored, leading to his conviction.

Trump issued a pardon to Arpaio last year shortly before the 85-year-old was set to be sentenced on a contempt-of-court charge related to his department's work aimed at apprehending people who crossed the border illegally. But he had an ally in Trump, who had campaigned alongside Arpaio.

"I have a far-out plan, which may look stupid", he said.

Arpaio added he could get on board with some version of a process to help illegal immigrants previously covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration amnesty program, offering his own thoughts on how Congress should handle the process.

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But Trump's backing might give Arpaio the extra bump he needs to succeed in Arizona's Senate race.

Republican Congresswoman Martha McSally is expected to make an announcement she's running for Flake's seat later this week.

The tent-city jail that Arpaio enjoyed showing off to reporters was a magnet for inmate lawsuit. Among those running for Flake's seat is former state Sen.

Arpaio bragged Tuesday that he raised $13 million for his 2016 race for sheriff.

Arpaio said he has not spoken with Trump about the Senate bid, and did not ask for the pardon.

"So was Sheriff Joe convicted for doing his job?"

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