PHOENIX – Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Tuesday submitted more than 10,000 signatures in his bid to qualify as a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate.
Arpaio joined a crowded field to replace Sen. Jeff Flake, who is not seeking re-election. Arpaio will face off against fellow Republicans Rep. Martha McSally of Tucson and former state Sen. Kelli Ward in the primary. The winner will likely face Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, in the general election.
“I know there’s been a lot of word out there – subtly or not – that I’m not going to run, (and) I’m just doing this to get my name in the paper, which is kind of stupid,” Arpaio said at a news conference.
Arpaio said he has every intention of taking the Senate seat. He said several times that he is a serious contender in the GOP primary, which will be held in August.
Campaign finance reports showed Arpaio trailed his competitors when it came to fundraising and voter polling, according to an April Cronkite News.
Arpaio is an avid President Donald Trump supporter. When he announced his candidacy in January, he said he was running “for one unwavering reason: to support the agenda and policies of President Donald Trump.”
On Tuesday, Arpaio said he’s not a “yes man.” He did, however, say he supported all of the president’s policies and looked forward to supporting the Trump agenda from Congress.
At a news conference outside the Arizona State Capitol, a handful of people shouted at Arpaio, saying he’s a convicted felon, and he isn’t good for America.
“I’m concerned that he is going to be a rubber stamp for this president,” said Leonard Clark, who listened to the news conference. “You heard Joe Arpaio brag that he was glad that our president is sitting with our enemies, the enemies of the United States.”
In July 2017, Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt of court for failing to enforce a court order that he stop his deputies from racially profiling Latinos.
Arpaio on Tuesday addressed his contempt of court charge, which was pardoned by Trump, by repeatedly stating, “I’m not a convicted felon.” Arpaio said he is submitting a letter to the attorney general this week, but he would not disclose its contents.
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