Joe Arpaio announces run for US Senate in Arizona

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks in support of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a Trump campaign rally

Joe Arpaio announces run for US Senate in Arizona

Joe Arpaio, the controversial sheriff beloved by immigration hardliners who was pardoned of criminal contempt charges by President Donald Trump previous year, announced Tuesday he will run for U.S. Senate in Arizona.

President Donald Trump pardoned Arpaio a year ago for violating the terms of a court order in a racial profiling case.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio (R) of Maricopa County, Arizona endorses Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump prior to a rally on January 26, 2016 in Marshalltown, Iowa.

Making the announcement via Twitter, Arpaio said he's running "to support the agenda and policies of President Donald Trump in his mission to Make America Great Again".

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, who announced he won't seek re-election, dismissed Arpaio's candidacy.

"And yeah, there is a lot of people that do not want me to go to Washington, including a few Republicans". "I'm going to have to work hard; you don't take anything for granted".

"I think I can make a difference".

"What ego? You guys forgot me the day I left office anyway". But this time, it looks a little more plausible - he's set up a website and changed his profile pictures to an "Arpaio for U.S. Senate" graphic.

For 24 years Arpaio was the sheriff of Maricopa County, where he developed a reputation as a fervent opponent of illegal immigration. "That's just the way it's got to be", said supporter Tim McMann.

Arpaio, 85, made the bid official in an interview with the Washington Examiner. Arpaio has created citizen posses to track down and arrest illegal immigrants, overseen a jail staff that has violently abused inmates (resulting in the death of three prisoners and the paralysis of a fourth), and used law enforcement resources to harass and intimidate his political opponents.

And now, with Trump friend and criminal racist Joe Arpaio running for office, Arizona may join the stampede trampling all over Republican dreams. "I have a soft spot for the Mexican community having lived there", Arpaio said.

Another far-right candidate is also seeking the nomination - the anti-trans, anti-immigrant Kelli Ward, who has ties to Steve Bannon and the Mercer family of conservative megadonors.

As the Trump administration and Congress negotiate a legislative fix to save the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Arpaio offered the Examiner his own solution. "The president and I have a good relationship, and that's going to be good for Arizona and for our country".

Arpaio's entry into the Senate race prompted immediate criticism from Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez, who released a statement saying, "Joe Arpaio is one of our nation's most notorious agents of racism and bigotry".

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