Joe Arpaio, the Republican former sheriff, has announced that he is running for Senate. He will be campaigning for the seat that GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, who has announced his intention to retire at the end of his term, currently holds. Arpaio is considered a controversial figure for his approach to immigration, which included racial profiling.
“I have a lot to offer. I’m a big supporter of President Trump,” said Arpaio, as reported by CNN. “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 previously held the position of Maricopa County Sheriff, but, after 24 years in the role, he was defeated in the 2016 election. Last year, he was convicted on a charge of criminal contempt after he failed to follow a court order to end a program that involved racially profiling Latinos, but received a pardon from Trump before any jail time was served.
On Twitter, Arpaio asserted, “I am running for the U.S. Senate for the Great State of Arizona, for one unwavering reason: to support the agenda and policies of President Donald Trump in his mission to Make America Great Again.”
Arpaio’s announcement brings the total number of Republicans running for the seat up to two, as he joins Kelli Ward, though a third candidate, Rep. Martha McSally, is also expected to enter the race, possibly announcing her intentions during events scheduled for Friday that are said to contain a “special announcement.”
While Arpaio may be seen as controversial, he also has a solid base of supporters. Ward is favored by anti-establishment conservatives while McSally is preferred by the establishment.
The primary to determine the Republican nominee is set for late-August.
At this time, there is only one Democratic candidate for the seat: Rep. Kyrsten Sinema. Arpaio’s entry into the race can be seen as a boon for Democrats, particularly when it comes to securing votes from Latinos, who, in the 2016 presidential election, favored Hillary Clinton over Trump by a margin of 2-to-1.