Republican Joe Arpaio, a close ally of President Trump and former sheriff known for his commonsense approach to combating illegal immigration, is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Arizona.  This promises to make for an exciting summer, leading up to the August primary.

Arpaio will shake up the Republican primary in a critical open-seat race to replace retiring Senator Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.  The iconic former Maricopa County sheriff, beloved by many conservatives for his law & order immigration policies, presents an alternative to former State Senator Kelli Ward and a potential obstacle to Rep. Martha McSally, a rising star in the Conservative Movement.

85 IS THE NEW 65

In a telephone interview with the Washington Examiner, Arpaio, 85, 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 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.”

Arpaio served as the elected sheriff of Maricopa County, which encompasses Phoenix and surrounding suburbs, for 24 years, re-elected over & over & over, until a Democrat ousted him in 2016.  Through strict opposition to illegal immigration and unorthodox, highly-praised policing methods, Arpaio cultivated a national image as a tough, law-and-order cop.  That made him a favorite of Conservatives nationwide.


Arpaio’s sharp rhetoric and law enforcement practices also drew intense criticism from the Open Borders crowd.  No doubt, the same crowd will vehemently oppose his election to the United States Senate.  Arpaio vowed not to alter his approach.

“My mother and father came here from Italy, legally of course. I have a soft spot for the Mexican community having lived there,” he said.  “I’m not going to get into my personal life, but I will say we have four grandkids and some have a different ethnic and racial background.  I don’t say that. I don’t use my grandkids.  So, I have a soft spot, but still, I’m going to do my job.  You have to do it.”

“Being a U.S. senator is a little different than being the sheriff, because you can do a lot of things in the U.S. Senate, and I have many plans, believe me.  It’s tough.  It’s a tough decision.  But, if you’re going to come across that border, you should be arrested and get the consequences of it,” Arpaio added.


Trump won Arizona in the 2016 presidential election; but his job approval numbers with nonwhites and suburbanites have been weak.  That’s potentially significant in Arizona, where both these voting blocs can be influential.  Arpaio, who shares a birthday with Trump (June 14th), told the Washington Examiner that he has not discussed his Senate bid with the president.

Arpaio’s reputation and close affiliation with Trump is virtually guaranteed to excite the conservative base that had pushed the RINO Flake into retirement because of his feud with the president.  That could work in Arpaio’s favor in the midterm election this November, in which Republican turnout tends to dominate.

Even if Arpaio loses the primary to McSally, he would have had seven months to push her to the right and define GOP messaging on a host of issues, and not just in Arizona.  Trump is sure to promote Arpaio’s campaign, and Republican primary candidates all over the country might follow his lead.  Arpaio said he relishes the fight, whether from the Left or from supporters of McSally on the Right.

“I am outspoken.  I’m looking forward to it.  Let them come.  They’ll have their political firing squads and bring tons of money here, because they don’t want to lose,” he said.  “I just want to do everything I can to support our president.”


Arpaio said he expects Democrats to make an issue of the pardon.  The former sheriff emphasized that he didn’t ask for the pardon nor did he know that it was coming.  But Arpaio did not apologize for it, calling his conviction part of a political witch hunt by former President Barack Obama and his first attorney general, Eric Holder.

“This started under Obama and Holder 60 days after they took office and it took them all these years to get me on a contempt of court charge, a misdemeanor.  You get the same time for barking dogs,” he said.


Arpaio would support Trump unflinchingly, should he win the nomination and defeat the likely Democratic nominee, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.  That’s significant.  Both Flake and McCain have a contentious relationship with the president, and he with them.

To that end, Arpaio suggested he could support some form of legalization of participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, Obama’s illegal program that protected illegal aliens brought in as children from deportation.  Of course, in typical fashion, Arpaio offered his own view of what should be done.

“I have a far-out plan, which may look stupid,” he said.  “When they come to your attention that they’re here illegally, these young people, deport them back to Mexico — or whatever — and then try to put them on a fast track to come back into the United States legally with special permits.  What’s wrong with that?  They’d say they don’t know where their home country is, so let them go there and spend six months, because it might take that long to do paperwork to get them here legally and let them see their home country and see what it’s really like.  They ought to be proud where they came from. I’m proud being an Italian American.  I’m proud of Italy.  I’m proud my father, mother came over, proud of it.  So, you could kill two birds with one stone.”

“That would be no amnesty, everybody would be happy, you deport them and then let them come back with all their education here.  I’m sure they could find a temporary job or help the foreign countries and build up relations and come back.  That’s just a big picture that I have.  People may say I’m crazy.  What am I crazy about?  It just makes sense.”

Diane L. Gruber


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