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Joe Arpaio running for Senate in Arizona

by by David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner  |  Published on January 9, 2018

FILE - In this Jan. 26, 2016, file photo, then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is joined by Joe Arpaio, the then sheriff of metro Phoenix, during a news conference in Marshalltown, Iowa. The former Phoenix-area sheriff who was pardoned by President Donald Trump from his federal contempt-of-court conviction in an immigration case is experiencing a wobbly return to the public speaking circuit. In Las Vegas, security concerns prompted event planners to move Arpaio's scheduled weekend appearance to an undisclosed location away from the casino-lined Strip tourist district. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Republican Joe Arpaio, a close ally of President Trump and former sheriff known for his provocative approach to combatting illegal immigration, is running for Senate in Arizona.

The 85-year-old Arpaio could shake up the late August Republican primary in a critical open-seat race to replace retiring Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. Trump pardoned Arpaio last summer, sparing the former sheriff jail time after he was convicted of ignoring a federal court order in a racial-profiling case.

The polarizing yet iconic former Maricopa County sheriff, beloved by many conservatives for his hawkish immigration policies, presents an alternative to the unimpressive Kelli Ward and a potential obstacle to Rep. Martha McSally. She is expected to launch within days and is widely viewed as the Republicans’ strongest general election candidate.

In a telephone interview with the Washington Examiner, Arpaio 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.

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