Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio Enters Arizona Senate Race for Flake's Seat

Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio Enters Arizona Senate Race for Flake's Seat

The 85-year-old former Maricopa County sheriff, whom President Donald Trump pardoned last year, said he will pursue a bid for the U.S. Senate seat now held by outgoing Republican Jeff Flake.

Arpaio, the Maricopa County sheriff until 2016, was pardoned by President Trump last summer following for being convicted over his disregard for a federal court order.

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona has announced he is not running for re-election. "When you evaluate my resume, which nobody wants to talk about, I didn't just drop out of an airplane to be the controversial sheriff for 24 years", he said.

"I'm doing this for the people of Arizona and also I support President Trump".

"I'm not here to get my name in the paper", he said. Former state senator Kelli Ward among the confirmed Republican candidates, where current USA congresswoman Marth McSally is holding a news conference on Friday, where it is expected she will announce a Senate run.

Mr Arpaio said immigrants should be proud of where they come from and that, "everybody would be happy, you deport them and then let them come back with all their education here". A year ago he was found guilty of criminal contempt after repeatedly ignoring a court order and faced up to six months in jail.

Trump's pardon last August ensured that Arpaio avoided jail time after he was convicted of violating a court order to halt traffic patrols targeting suspected unauthorized immigrants. "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".

Arpaio, 85, made the bid official in an interview with the Washington Examiner. But he is certain to be a supporter of Trump and his policies, as well as continue his opposition to illegal immigration.

His tenure, including his tough stance on illegal immigration, drew notice from outside the county.

"Joe Arpaio brings a violent and radical history against Hispanic Arizonans to a race that has been and will be a long, bruising and very expensive primary for the Arizona Republican Party", said Herschel Fink, party executive director.

Arpaio endorsed Trump in his presidential run and appeared alongside him at 2016 presidential campaign appearances, including a large outdoor event in the lawman's hometown of Fountain Hills outside of Phoenix as well as Prescott Valley. "Even American citizens are terrified of Arpaio because they think he will take away their parents". That made him a favorite of conservative media and popular on the GOP endorsement circuit as Republicans throughout the country sought to bolster their border security bona fides in primaries.

Arpaio's candidacy is likely to generate headaches for Republicans in Washington, who are desperate to hold on to the Arizona Senate seat or risk losing control of the chamber.

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