Joe Arpaio announces he's running for Senate

The former Maricopa County sheriff, fresh off a Trump pardon, says he wants to be a Trump stooge in the Senate

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published January 9, 2018 1:37PM (EST)

 (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Joe Arpaio, the controversial former Maricopa County, Arizona, sheriff, is announcing that he is running for the United States Senate.

"I have a lot to offer. I’m a big supporter of President Trump. 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 told The Washington Examiner when announcing his decision.

He also insisted, in the way only he can, that he is not racist.

"My mother and father came here from Italy, legally of course. I have a soft spot for the Mexican community having lived there. 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," Arpaio told the Examiner.

Arpaio has aroused controversy over accusations that he engaged in racial profiling and created inhumane conditions for prisoners in his custody. Last year he was found to be in criminal contempt of court after it was determined that he had disregarded a judge's orders to stop targeting immigrants.

Before Arpaio could serve any prison time, however, he was pardoned by Trump, according to CNN. That pardon has freed Arpaio up to seek a United States Senate seat as an Arizona Republican, where he is almost certain to energize the party's far-right base in that state. His likely opponents are the Republican candidates Rep. Martha McSally and Kelli Ward, a conservative state senator who received 40 percent of the vote when opposing Sen. John McCain in the 2016 Republican primaries.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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2018 Arizona Senate Election Donald Trump Jeff Flake Joe Arpaio Kelli Ward