After being bounced from his career as Maricopa County Sheriff in Arizona, Joe Arpaio is now tossing his hat into the race for U.S. Senate.
Arpaio, who was pardoned by President Donald Trump last summer, is aiming to replace U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican who is not seeking re-election.
In an interview with the Washington Examiner, the 85-year-old Arpaio shrugged off concerns by Republicans that his reputation with nonwhite voters would make the seat a possible pickup for Democrats.
“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 being 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 was convicted in U.S. District Court in Arizona in 2016 of criminal contempt-of-court for ignoring a federal judge's order in a long-simmering racial-profiling case.
Days later, he lost his re-election bid after serving 24 years as sheriff of Maricopa County.
Trump issued the long-expected pardon last summer, immediately drawing criticism from other Republicans.
Arizona Republican Senator John McCain said the Arpaio pardon “undermines” Trump’s claim that he has a respect for the rule of law because the former sheriff “has shown no remorse” for racially profiling minorities.
Arpaio has long been a figure on the far-right wing of American politics and was a prominent “birther,” embracing the false notion that President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States.
Voters in part of Maricopa County, which encompasses part of Phoenix, will also have the opportunity to consider “Constitutional Sheriff” Richard Mack, who is running for Congress in a February special election.
Mack, the former Graham County Sheriff, is part of a large field seeking to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, a Republican who resigned amid a sexual harassment scandal.