Despite talk former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is planning to challenge Arizona Senator Jeff Flake in 2018, the recently pardoned Arpaio told Newsmax TV that is not his intention, underscoring that his re-entry into politics will be focused on getting other “good Republicans” in office.
“I don’t know whether I want to run for any office. I will be active trying to get Republicans elected, the good Republicans that is, or help them raise money, which I’ve been doing for 24 years.” Arpaiotold Newsmax TV hosts Bill Tucker and Jonathan Gilliam.
Arpaio underlined that he has been the honorary chairman for several presidential campaigns, including George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, and Rick Perry.
The former sheriff said he would have great things to say about President Donald Trump even if he had not pardoned him Friday for a conviction of criminal contempt. Prosecutors said Arpaio’s office racially profiled suspects as part of a crackdown on illegal immigration.
During a White House press conference Monday, Trump defended Arpaio’s pardoning.
“He’s very strong on borders, very strong on illegal immigration. I thought he was treated unbelievably unfairly when they came down with their big decision to go get him right before the election voting started.” Trump said, calling Arpaio a “patriot”.
Addressing campaigning rumors, the 85-year-old Arpaio told Newsmax the reports of him challenging Flake are overblown.
“There’s a story out from a Washington newspaper, they interviewed me, that asks whether I’m back in politics again. So, I said, yeah I’m coming back.” Arpaio said.
“I do still have a lot of support. So, I told that to the reporter, and he said, `What office are you running for if you do run?` And I said, `I don’t know if I’m running for any office.` And then he says, `Would you run against Flake?`”
Newsmax adds that Arpaio insisted he did not know he would ever run for office again, but then did mention Flake because he opposed Trump pardoning him, saying that both “Flake and McCain should have looked into his case, since they actually are from Arizona.”