Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, said Thursday that he was “seriously, seriously, seriously considering running for the U.S. Senate.”
“I am considering running for the Senate, Flake’s seat,” he told the Daily Beast, referring to Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who announced his retirement in October. “I feel like I just gave you a little scoop there.”
President Donald Trump erased Arpaio’s conviction for criminal contempt of court — one he earned for defying a court order to stop racially profiling Latinos — with a presidential pardon on Aug. 25.
“Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now eighty-five years old, and after more than fifty years of admirable service to our Nation, he is worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon,” the White House said in a statement at the time.
Days after that Pardon, Arpaio hinted he had Flake’s seat on his mind. “I could run for mayor, I could run for legislator, I could run for Senate,” he said.
After Flake announced his retirement, leaving an open election field, Apraio’s interest seems to have grown.
Arpaio is infamous for his jailing practices: He once called his outdoor “Tent City” jail a “concentration camp,” and there were numerous reports of abuse at his facilities over Arpaio’s 23 years as sheriff.