Joe Arpaio has announced that he is running in Arizona for the United States Senate. He will be running for the seat being vacated by Republican Senator Jeff Flake. Flake abandoned his 2018 re-election campaign after coming under criticism from President Trump. Arpaio is the former sheriff of Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix.
On Twitter. Arpaio, 85, said, “I am running for the U.S. Senate from the Great State of Arizona, for one unwavering reason: to support the agenda and policies of President Donald Trump in his mission to Make America Great Again.” The race is already hotly contested and widely followed across the country. Other contenders for the seat include Representative Kyrsten Sinema, running as a Democrat, and Kelli Ward, running as a Republican.
Arpaio started his law enforcement career in 1954 as a police officer in Washington. He also worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration in Latin America before being elected as sheriff of Maricopa County in 1991. He spent almost a quarter-century in that office. He lost his re-election bid for that post in 2016 to Phoenix police officer Paul Penzone, a Democrat.
Arpaio became well-known for his outdoor jail known as Tent City and for forcing inmates to wear pink underwear. His administration also conducted broad “saturation patrols” of heavily Hispanic neighborhoods and routinely held people past court-ordered release dates to hand them over to federal immigration authorities. Repeated court rulings against his office for civil rights violations cost local taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.
Arpaio’s reputation and close affiliation with President Trump is virtually guaranteed to rev up the conservative base. Many conservatives embraced his hard-line policies and Arpaio reveled in the publicity. He is still beloved by many conservatives for his hawkish immigration policies.
Arpaio endorsed Trump just before the first votes in the Iowa caucuses in 2016. During the campaign, he frequently spoke out on behalf of Trump. Trump won Arizona in 2016 by just 4.1 percentage points. Trump is sure to promote his campaign. After a conviction for criminal contempt, Arpaio was pardoned by the President. He faced a jail sentence before he was pardoned.