Citing the need to "make Maricopa County safe again," controversial former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio announced his bid Sunday to reclaim the post he lost in 2016.
Arpaio, now 87, said he will seek another term in the 2020 election. The former law enforcement officer who received a pardon from President Trump after being cited by a judge for criminal contempt previously served for more than two decades.
“After consultation and approval from my wife of 61 years, Ava, I have decided to run to be re-elected Sheriff,” he said Sunday. “Watch out world! We are back!”
The announcement comes exactly two years after he was pardoned for the “scurrilous misdemeanor contempt charge filed by President Obama’s administration,” an Arpaio press release said. Arpaio had been found to have unfairly targeted Hispanic people while serving as sheriff as part of his hard-line stance against undocumented immigrants.
Arpaio served as sheriff in Maricopa County from 1993 until he was voted out of office in 2016. He failed in a bid for the U.S. Senate in 2018.
He will likely run in the primary against Gerard Sheridan, his one-time chief deputy. Arpaio could then square off in the general election with Democrat Paul Penzone, who sent “America’s Toughest Sheriff” packing three years ago.
The Trump-loving Arpaio vows to reopen “Tent City” jail "and bring back what he calls his “popular” jail policies. He had built tent cities to house prisoners in his jurisdiction.
“I will continue to stand and fight to do the right thing for Arizona and America, and will never surrender,” he said. “Those who break the law will have to deal with this Sheriff.”