Joe Arpaio, the ex-Arizona sheriff who built a national status as a potent foe of illegal immigration, declared on Sunday – the anniversary of his release by President Donald Trump – that he’ll see re-election to his old job in 2020.
Arpaio, 87, a Republican who was removed from office in 2016 after a 24-year tenure as Maricopa County’s longest-serving sheriff, said he’d urge his party’s nomination for the post once more in the Aug. 4, 2020, primary, running versus his former chief deputy, Gerard Sheridan.
The winner of that primary might face the man who beat Arpaio in 2016, the incumbent reeve, Democrat Paul Penzone, in the November 2020 general election.
Arpaio lost a Republican primary proposal last year for the U.S. Senate chair in Arizona left by the retirement of fellow Republican Jeff Flake, a frequent commentator on Trump.
During his work as the top elected lawman in Arizona’s largest county, Arpaio marked himself as “America’s Toughest Sheriff” as he managed roundups of suspected illegal immigrants, reinstituted chain gangs, erected tent cities to accommodate prisoners and forced inmates to wear pink.
However, a federal judge cited him for felony contempt in 2017, ruling that Arpaio had resisted a 2011 court order barring his agents from arresting Latinos solely on the doubt that they were in the nation illegally.
However, Trump, who had carried Arizona by 5% points in his 2016 presidential election, released Arpaio on Aug. 25, 2017, before he was punished.
Nonetheless, the former reeve ended up with less than 20% of the vote to finish third in last year’s Senate primary race, trailing former state Senator Kelli Ward and then-U.S. Executive Martha McSally, who finished first.