Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (R) officially filed paperwork to run for Arizona’s Senate seat in play during November’s midterm elections.
The 85-year-old Arpaio submitted his candidacy earlier this week, according to a filing with the Federal Election Commission.
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The former sheriff lost his reelection bid in November 2016 after two decades of serving as Maricopa County’s top lawman and developing a reputation for himself as “America’s Toughest Sheriff” for his “Tent City” prison complex and oft-criticized brutal treatment of prisoners.
In 2017, he was pardoned by President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE after being found guilty of criminal contempt of court for refusing to heed a judge’s order to stop profiling Hispanics at traffic stops for the purpose of immigration checks.
In a statement last week, Arpaio said he was running for Senate to provide a reliable vote for Trump’s agenda in the Senate.
“I have a lot to offer. I’m a big supporter of President Trump,” he told The Washington Examiner.
“I’m going to have to work hard; you don’t take anything for granted. But I would not be doing this if I thought that I could not win. I’m not here to get my name in the paper, I get that every day, anyway,” he said.
The former sheriff also played a major role in the “birther” movement questioning former President Obama’s birthplace, a conspiracy theory that Trump himself flirted with until deep into his own presidential bid. Democrats and others have called the movement racist.
Arizona’s Senate seat in play in 2018 is currently held by retiring Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeGOP lawmakers stick to Trump amid new criticism Kelly holds double-digit lead over McSally in Arizona: poll Trump asserts his power over Republicans MORE (R), who announced last year he would not seek reelection. He made the announcement, in the face of a tough primary challenge, in a fiery speech on the Senate floor denouncing the president.