Joe Arpaio, sheriff in Phoenix’ Maricopa County for 24 years, will try to succeed Sen. Jeff Flake, who is retiring. Arpaio was defeated for reelection in 2016 and pardoned by President Trump on a contempt of court conviction.
Joe Arpaio, the controversial former Arizona sheriff who was convicted of defying a federal court order last year and then pardoned by President Trump, is running to succeed retiring U.S. senator Jeff Flake, Politico reports. Arpaio, 85, served as sheriff of Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, for 24 years before being defeated for reelection in 2016. “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 be 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.”
Former state Sen. Kelli Ward — the conservative firebrand who lost to Sen. John McCain in a 2016 primary — is in the contest on the Republican side, and Rep. Martha McSally is also expected to run. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is running for the Democratic nomination. Arpaio’s harsh stance toward undocumented immigrants gets praise from hard-liners and criticism from Democrats and some moderate Republicans. It also earned him the ire of federal courts, which ruled he violated civil rights law. After Arpaio ignored the rulings, he was convicted of contempt of court in July 2017. One month later, Trump pardoned him despite Flake’s opposition.