Joe Arpaio, the former Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, is a champion among conservatives because of his hard-line stance against illegal immigration and his decades of service in law enforcement. After receiving President Donald Trump’s first presidential pardon in August, Arpaio says he’s not ready to quietly disappear from public life.
According to The Washington Examiner, Arpaio has not ruled out a Senate bid for his home state of Arizona. The former Sheriff says he is electable and has the know-how for raising large amounts of money for a campaign.
If the popular lawman were to run, he would have a less than difficult road to the Republican nomination now that Arizona’s junior Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) has announced that he will not seek re-election once his term ends in 2018, as reported by The Hill.
Sen. Flake has been a long-time supporter of increased legal immigration and amnesty for illegal immigrants. He voted for the famous “Gang of Eight” amnesty bill in the Senate and has often taken issue with President Trump’s policies and personality.
In fact, Mr. Flake used the announcement of his decision to not run again to launch a personal attack against the President, whom he described as “reckless, outrageous, and undignified.” President Trump, in turn, has offered scathing remarks against the Senator and indicated his intention to support a Republican other than the incumbent in the 2018 election.
Following the news that Mr. Flake would be ending his tenure in the Senate, the President took to Twitter to write: “The reason Flake and Corker dropped out of the Senate race is very simple, they had zero chance of being elected. Now act so hurt & wounded!”
President Trump had a friendly political relationship with Sheriff Arpaio even before the pardon. They campaigned for one another in 2016, although Arpaio ultimately lost his election amid legal charges.
Arpaio, speaking of a conversation he had with Breitbart Chairman and former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon: said “I did tell him that my heart is for Donald Trump and always will be.”
The renowned sheriff said: “My heart is with the president and anything he needs or wants I will do. So we’ll have to see what his position is. It’s an open seat now.”
But Arpaio did not specifically discuss the issue of a Senate bid with Bannon, who is recruiting pro-Trump Republicans to run against incumbent establishment politicians in an effort to both pass the Trump agenda and unseat Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
As far as the Arizona Senate seat, it appears Bannon has grown fond of Dr. Kelli Ward, a physician and former State Senator. Ward challenged Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for the Republican nomination in 2016 but lost. Now that Sen. Flake is out of the race, Ward is leading among GOP hopefuls. Whoever wins the primary will have a good chance of winning the state election in a state that generally sends Republicans to Washington.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio may run for the Senate. Would he make a good senator?
A source close to Bannon says, “Ward is the candidate.” Arpaio, whose candidacy is thus far only a possibility, has not said whether he will support Ward’s candidacy. The former sheriff called her “a nice lady” who “supports some of the things I believe in, like with the illegal immigration problem.”
Republican contenders will seek to gain the endorsement of President Trump, who is popular among the state’s GOP voters.