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Sheriff pardoned by Trump may run for US Senate


This file photo taken on July 21, 2016 shows Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaking on the last day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.In a statement released by the White House on August 25, 2017, US President Donald Trump granted a Presidential pardon to Arpaio, former Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. Arpaio, 85, was convicted of criminal contempt of court charges for violating an order that he refrain from detaining illegal immigrants, which the courts said was the job of federal authorities. Robyn BECK / AFP

The former Arizona sheriff who was controversially pardoned by US President Donald Trump after illegally profiling Hispanic immigrants reportedly expressed interest Monday in running for Senate.

According to the Washington Examiner, Joe Arpaio, the longtime sheriff of Maricopa County until his defeat by a Democrat last year, said he could challenge Republican Senator Jeff Flake for his seat in 2018.

“I could run for mayor, I could run for legislator, I could run for Senate,” the 85-year-old told the conservative-leaning news outlet.

Arpaio said he was “getting a lot of people around the state asking me” to challenge Flake, who has been a critic of Trump.

Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt last month for illegally profiling Hispanic immigrants.

In pardoning Arpaio, who ignored a 2011 federal court order that he stop detaining illegal migrants, Trump insisted the former sheriff “kept Arizona safe.”

But critics were appalled by the move, warning it would only serve to divide a country still reeling from Trump’s controversial remarks on racial unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month.

Arpaio, who reveled in his reputation as “America’s toughest sheriff,” had been due to be sentenced in October. Now a political future may lay ahead.

“All I’m saying is the door is open and we’ll see what happens,” he told the Examiner. “I’ve got support. I know what support I have.”

Flake wrote a candid book this year in which he bluntly warned that Trump is betraying conservative principles, and showing “affection for authoritarians and strongmen.”

Flake, who has been on the receiving end of Trump’s wrath in tweets and speeches, is already facing a Republican nomination challenge from another conservative Arizonan.

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