Say what you will about former Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s politics. What can’t be denied is that the 85-year-old is tenacious. He intends to run for Senate in Arizona to replace retiring Jeff Flake.
In a telephone interview with the Washington Examiner, Arpaio shrugged off concerns about his age, dismissed Republican insiders’ anxiety that his poor reputation with nonwhite voters would put the seat in play for the Democrats in the midterm, and discussed plans to work with Trump on behalf of Arizona.
“I have a lot to offer. I’m a big supporter of President Trump,” Arpaio said. “I’m going to have to work hard; you don’t take anything for granted. But I would not being doing this if I thought that I could not win. I’m not here to get my name in the paper, I get that everyday, anyway.”
Arpaio was pardoned by President Trump last year after ignoring a federal court order on racial profiling. He’s been a strong supporter of the President since the primaries.
The field to replace Flake is quickly becoming crowded with familiar names. Kelli Ward, who lost to Senator John McCain in the Republican primary for Senate in 2016, has been pushing to replace Flake since before his retirement. Representative Martha McSally is the Establishment’s choice and may be announcing her candidacy soon.
Arpaio is one of the most polarizing figures in American politics. His sharp stances on illegal aliens in a state rife with immigrants, both legal and illegal, have his supporters behind him 100% even as his detractors paint him as a racist. If he’s able to win the GOP nomination, it will make this the most interesting Senate race since Roy Moore lost to Doug Jones.