After being pardoned by President Trump last year, former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio has officially announced he will run to fill Republican Senator Jeff Flake's seat. Flake announced last fall he will not seek re-election in 2018.
“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 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.”
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. https://t.co/ANppBdDOtp— Sheriff Joe Arpaio (@RealSheriffJoe) January 9, 2018
Arpaio's pardon, like many presidential pardons, was controversial. He is 85-years old and is infamous for his tough stance on illegal immigration. Last year he was found guilty of criminal contempt after repeatedly ignoring a court order and faced up to six months in jail. He was pardoned before his final sentence was handed down by a judge.
The question now is whether President Trump will campaign for Arpaio in the Grand Canyon State, or at the very least endorse him. Arpaio was one of the first high profile supporters of Trump during the 2016 presidential election and backed him early in the Republican primary.
Republican Congresswoman Martha McSally is expected to make an announcement she's running for Flake's seat later this week. Dr. Kelli Ward, a former Arizona State Senator, announced a run for the seat last year after unsuccessfully running against Republican John McCain in 2016.
Great to see that Dr. Kelli Ward is running against Flake Jeff Flake, who is WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate. He's toxic!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017