Fresh Off A Pardon From Trump, Arpaio Floats A Primary Challenge To Flake

Ross Franklin/AP

Just a few days after President Donald Trump issued a pardon for Joe Arpaio, the former Maricopa County sheriff hinted that he could mount a primary challenge to Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who’s up for re-election next year.

Arpaio, who was convicted of contempt of court for ignoring a court order to stop holding people solely on suspicion of being undocumented, told the Washington Examiner on Monday that he may run for office again.

“I could run for mayor, I could run for legislator, I could run for Senate,” he said.

“I’m sure getting a lot of people around the state asking me” to run against Flake, he added. “All I’m saying is the door is open and we’ll see what happens. I’ve got support. I know what support I have.”

It’s not clear how serious Arpaio is about challenging Flake. He lost his bid for a seventh term as sheriff of Maricopa County last year, and was later convicted of contempt of court. The sheriff was notorious for holding inmates in “tent city,” an open air jail he once referred to as a “concentration camp.”

Arpaio, who is now 85 years old, told the Washington Examiner that despite his age, he does not plan to fully retire yet.

“I’m proud to be my age. I work 14 hours a day. If anyone thinks my age is going to hold me back, I’ve got news for them,” he said. “The bottom line is there’s no way I’m going to go fishing. I have no hobbies.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.
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