Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio Announces He’s Running

( )- The city of Fountain Hills in Arizona may get a new mayor with a long track record of being tough on immigration.

On Tuesday, Joe Arpaio, a former sheriff, announced he would be running for mayor of the city. At 89 years old, Arpaio may not be the typical candidate in terms of his age, but he’s certainly bringing with him years of experience.

He worked for law enforcement in some capacity for 56 years, and was once known as “America’s toughest sheriff.” He held the top law enforcement position in Arizona’s Maricopa County between 1993 and 2017. Fountain Hills is in that county.

A news release announcing his candidacy read:

“Among his priorities as Mayor, Arpaio will focus on attracting new businesses to the city to create jobs and economic growth and continue his fight against illegal immigration, human smuggling, and drug trafficking. Also, reducing taxes and regulation and increasing tourism.”

Separately, Arpaio commented on his candidacy by saying:

“It was an honor and privilege serving the people of Maricopa County as their Sheriff. Now, I want to directly give something back to my hometown of Fountain Hills, Arizona, which I love, utilizing my life experience and commonsense to make Fountain Hills a better place to live.”

In 2016, Arpaio lost a bid for re-election as sheriff to his Democratic challenger, Paul Penzone. That only happened, though, after a misdemeanor charge of contempt of court was filed against him by prosecutors just a few days before the early voting period opened for that election.

The complaint in question alleged that the Sheriff’s Department of Maricopa County violated a court order that had to do with how it was handling illegal immigrants.

In March, Arpaio commented on that case to The Western Journal when he said:

“Certainly, the timing was no accident, as Judge [G. Murray] Snow could have made this same erroneous criminal referral months — even years — prior.”

Because they filed a misdemeanor charge, prosecutors didn’t have to go through a jury trial in the case. Susan Bolton, the district judge in the case, didn’t grant him a jury trial and eventually convicted him in July of 2017.

That charge didn’t stick for long, though, as then-President Donald Trump pardoned him from the charge.

In August 2017, Arpaio thanked Trump on Twitter by writing:

“Thank you @realDonaldTrump for seeing my conviction for what it is: a political witch hunt by holdovers in the Obama justice department!”

Since then, Arpaio has tried, unsuccessfully, to run for two other political positions. He lost a race for a U.S. Senate seat back in 2018 and then for sheriff of Maricopa County again just last year.

Arpaio has long been a supporter of Trump. He was one of the first prominent Arizonian officeholders to endorse the 2016 presidential bid for Trump. He even hosted the former president at a rally in Fountain Hills that spring.