Will Jeff Flake or Joe Arpaio get the last laugh?
The former Maricopa County Sheriff said he has his eyes on the Senate seat that will be vacated by Arizona Republican Jeff Flake upon the completion of the term in 2019.
Arpaio, a staunch Trump supporter, floated the idea of running for US Senate shortly after receiving a presidential pardon for his controversial immigration enforcement tactics.
In August, Arpaio’s comments suggested he was exploring possibilities.
“I could run for mayor, I could run for legislator, I could run for Senate” he told the Washington Examiner at the time. “All I’m saying is the door is open and we’ll see what happens. I’ve got support. I know what support I have.”
The Sheriff seemed much more decided about a Senate candidacy on Thursday when contacted by the Daily Beast about the pending resignation of Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), who is stepping down after reports that he approached two female staffers about serving as gestational surrogates for him and his wife.
“He is a great man, and a great friend, and it’s a great loss for Arizona and our country,” Arpaio said of Franks. When asked if he is considering running for the House seat, the lawman replied in the negative, noting that he does not live in Franks’ congressional district.
“No, I would not consider it, but I am considering running for the Senate, Flake’s seat,” Arpaio told the Daily Beast. He also said “I am seriously, seriously, seriously considering running for the U.S. Senate, not the congressman’s seat.”
If Arpaio runs, he will enter a crowded field. Also running to succeed Flake are Rep. Martha McSally, as well as former state senator Kelli Ward–who has the backing of former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.
The six-term Sheriff is 85-years-old. He is currently the subject of a civil lawsuit by one of Jeff Flake’s sons, who claims Arpaio investigated him for the deaths of 21 dogs as a way of ruining his father’s reputation.
A Senate bid might be the Sheriff’s latest way of spiting the beleaguered Senator.