Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio says he's running for the open U.S. Senate seat in his home state of Arizona so he can support President Donald Trump, who pardoned him last year after Arpaio was convicted of disobeying a judge's order barring him from detaining suspected undocumented immigrants.
"I am running for the U.S. Senate from the Great State of Arizona, for one unwavering reason: to support the agenda and policies of President Donald Trump in his mission to Make America Great Again," Arpaio tweeted Tuesday.
The tweet included a link to a news story about his announcement, in which the former sheriff of Maricopa County told a Washington Examiner reporter that he's not concerned about being 85 years old or his poor reputation among non-white voters and that he thinks he could win.
"I'm not here to get my name in the paper, I get that every day, anyway," Arpaio told the newspaper.
The seat Arpaio is running for is being vacated by Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, a vocal critic of the president's, at the end of his term in early 2019.
Arpaio earned a national reputation by taking aggressive action to arrest immigrants in the country illegally, but the courts said he had used immigration patrols to racially profile Latinos.
He was handily defeated by a Democrat in the 2016 election, during which he campaigned for Trump.
In July 2017, Arpaio was found guilty of a misdemeanor contempt-of-court charge in a trial that was prosecuted by the president's own Justice Department.
But within a month, Trump issued his pardon on the night that a Category 4 hurricane was bearing down on Texas. He later defended the timing from critics who said it seemed like the administration was burying the news during a disaster: "In the middle of a hurricane, even though it was a Friday evening, I assumed the ratings would be far higher than they would be normally."
The White House said Arpaio was a "worthy candidate" for the pardon, citing his "life's work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration."
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