Former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, pardoned by President Donald Trump in August after he was convicted of contempt of court, announced Tuesday that he is running for the U.S. Senate.
“We cannot sit idly by while our nation faces unprecedented challenges. President Trump needs my help in the Senate,” an announcement on Arpaio’s new campaign website reads, “He needs a conservative vote he can count on, and a voice in the Senate who knows first hand the threats our nation is dealing with. And, that’s why I’m running for United States Senate.”
Arpaio’s presidential pardon came after he was convicted of contempt of court for refusing a court order to alter his department’s controversial policing tactics of the Latino community in Maricopa County.
“Throughout his time as sheriff, Arpaio continued his life’s work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration,” a statement released by the White House at the time read, “Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now 85 years old, and after more than 50 years of admirable service to our nation, he is (a) worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon.”
The 85-year Arpaio now joins a crowded field of Republicans vying to replace Senator Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., the frequent Trump critic who announced last year that he is not seeking re-election. The field already includes Trump-aligned candidate and former state senator Kelli Ward, who is also backed by Steve Bannon, and is expected to include Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., a former United States Air Force Colonel.
McSally, who would likely have the backed of many in the Republican leadership, has not yet made an official announcement on a senate run.
Democrats also have a strong recruit in Rep. Krysten Sinema, D-Ariz., who already has the backing of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).