Sheriff Joe is running.
Joe Arpaio, the 85-year-old former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, known for his harsh stance toward immigrants, announced Tuesday that he’ll be running for the Senate seat vacated by Republican Sen. Jeff Flake.
Arpaio is a close ally of President Donald Trump, who pardoned the former sheriff after he was convicted of ignoring a federal court order in a racial profiling case. He had been convicted on a misdemeanor charge of criminal contempt that carried a maximum six-month prison sentence and a monetary fine.
In his announcement on Twitter, Arpaio said he was running for one reason: “to support the agenda and policies of President Donald Trump in his mission to Make America Great Again.”
“I would not being doing this if I thought that I could not win,” Arpaio told the Washington Examiner, which first reported on his Senate aspirations. “I’m not here to get my name in the paper; I get that every day anyway.”
In the race already is Republican State Sen. Kelli Ward, another Trump backer who challenged John McCain in the Republican primary in 2016, and Rep. Martha McSally, another Republican, is expected to announce her candidacy for the seat on Friday.
McConnell appears to support McSally, telling the Washington Examiner in an interview that she was among his top recruits to the Senate.
Democrats have their eyes on the seat too, and they’ve thrown their support behind Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.