The racist, anti-immigrant former sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio, apparently has no interest in running for Arizona’s 8th congressional district after Rep. Trent Franks vacates the seat. Arpaio has set his sights on a loftier position.
“I am seriously, seriously, seriously considering running for the U.S. Senate,” Arpaio told The Daily Beast, “not the congressman’s seat.”
Franks announced his decision to resign following reports that he had followed two female staffers and asked them if they would serve as gestational surrogates for his wife and him. The House Ethics Committee is now investigating whether Franks' actions constituted sexual harassment.
However, Arpaio said he hadn't heard of Franks' resignation. “He is a great man, and a great friend, and it’s a great loss for Arizona and our country,” he said after he received the news.
He also waved away the possibility of running to replace the Arizona representative, claiming he did not live in the 8th district.
When the Daily Beast told him he does not necessarily have to reside in that particular district, just live in the state, Arpaio said he is actually eyeing the retiring Sen. Jeff Flake’s seat.
“No, I would not consider it, but I am considering running for the Senate, Flake’s seat,” Arpaio said. “I feel like I just gave you a little scoop there.”
Should Arpaio decide to run the race and actually win, it would not be good for the country.
The former sheriff is a controversial figure in Arizona, serving for 20 years as sheriff of the state’s largest county. Arapaio, who named himself “America’s toughest sheriff,” is a strong opponent of undocumented immigrants. During his tenure as sheriff, which ended in 2016, Arpaio was accused of severe abuses of power. In 2011, his department failed to properly investigate 400 sex crime cases, including assault on children from 2005 to 2007 when the department had a $2.7 million contract to manage policing services for the city of El Mirage.
According to the report, many of those children belonged to undocumented immigrants and the victims were as young as 2.
This July, Arapaio was also convicted of criminal contempt after he flagrantly disregarded a 2011 court order to stop unlawful traffic stops that disproportionately targeted undocumented immigrants, particularly from the Latino community.
However, he was soon pardoned by President Donald Trump in a primetime ceremony after Hurricane Harvey made landfall on Texas.
“Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now 85 years old, and after more than 50 years of admirable service to our nation, he is worthy candidate for a presidential pardon,” the White House said at the time.
The pardon was a slap in the face to the Latino community.
Should Arpaio decide to enter the race, he would have to face off against Flake’s primary challenger Kelli Ward. The former state senator led Flake by 26 points in polls before he opted not to run. She is also backed by former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and a pro-Trump Super PAC.
Banner/Thumbnail credit: REUTERS, Brian Snyder