Former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio announces bid for US Senate seat

Frederick Owens
January 10, 2018

Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was spared a possible jail sentence past year when his political ally President Donald Trump pardoned his criminal conviction for disobeying a judge's order, announced Tuesday he plans to run for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Jeff Flake.

Arpaio had been an ardent Trump supporter, though, and the president returned the favor. The candidate "dismissed" Republican insiders' anxiety that his poor reputation with nonwhite voters might put the seat in play for Democrats in the midterm, and said he plans to alight himself with Trump. And as the Washington Post's Aaron Blake notes, Arpaio also joins two other current Republican congressional hopefuls who have been convicted of a crime.

"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 85-year-old ex-lawman tweeted Tuesday morning. Trump told Fox News prior to the pardon that Arpaio was "a great American patriot and I hate to see what has happened to him". President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for "serious case of amnesia" after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don't want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE pardoned Arpaio past year after he was convicted of ignoring a court order related to racial profiling in his division. She has told colleagues that she is planning a Senate run but hasn't yet made an announcement. John McCain, in the race. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., sent out an email to his supporters asking for campaign cash for him and for Arpaio's Democratic challenger, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema. And McSally, like Luther Strange, is the establishment preference - though Republicans argue McSally, a former fighter pilot who has proven her ability to raise money and win close races, is a stronger candidate.

Arpaio's entry into the race could be a boon for Arizona Democrats who will lean on Latino turnout in hopes of winning the Senate race.

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Trump won the state by 4 percentage points in 2016.

Arpaio said he has not spoken with Trump about the Senate bid, and did not ask for the pardon.

Arpaio told NBC News that he didn't tell Trump about his decision ahead of time - and that he's running because Washington needs "fresh blood".

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