Sheriff pardoned by Trump may run for US Senate
The former Arizona sheriff who was controversially pardoned by US President Donald Trump after illegally profiling Hispanic immigrants reportedly expressed interest Monday in running for Senate.
According to the Washington Examiner, Joe Arpaio, the longtime sheriff of Maricopa County until his defeat by a Democrat last year, said he could challenge Republican Senator Jeff Flake for his seat in 2018.
“I could run for mayor, I could run for legislator, I could run for Senate,” the 85-year-old told the conservative-leaning news outlet.
Arpaio said he was “getting a lot of people around the state asking me” to challenge Flake, who has been a critic of Trump.
Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt last month for illegally profiling Hispanic immigrants.
In pardoning Arpaio, who ignored a 2011 federal court order that he stop detaining illegal migrants, Trump insisted the former sheriff “kept Arizona safe.”
But critics were appalled by the move, warning it would only serve to divide a country still reeling from Trump’s controversial remarks on racial unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month.
Arpaio, who reveled in his reputation as “America’s toughest sheriff,” had been due to be sentenced in October. Now a political future may lay ahead.
“All I’m saying is the door is open and we’ll see what happens,” he told the Examiner. “I’ve got support. I know what support I have.”
Flake wrote a candid book this year in which he bluntly warned that Trump is betraying conservative principles, and showing “affection for authoritarians and strongmen.”
Flake, who has been on the receiving end of Trump’s wrath in tweets and speeches, is already facing a Republican nomination challenge from another conservative Arizonan.
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