WASHINGTON — Disgraced former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio says he has no interest in running for Rep. Trent Franks’ seat but is considering running for Arizona’s open Senate seat.
“I am seriously, seriously, seriously considering running for the U.S. Senate,” he told the Daily Beast. “Not the congressman’s seat.”
Arpaio previously flirted with staging a primary challenge to Republican Sen. Jeff Flake before Flake announced he would not seek re-election after one term.
Before that, he said he was considering a run for the Senate in 2011 when Sen. Jon Kyl announced his retirement. He led in some polls before deciding against running.
Flake’s son Austin Flake is pursuing a malicious prosecution suit against Arpaio, saying he was targeted by Arpaio for the deaths of 21 dogs at a dog kennel where he and his then-wife worked.
Austin Flake said he was targeted because of political disagreements between Arpaio and his father.
Arpaio lost his race for re-election for sheriff last year after being found guilty of violating a court order on racial profiling. President Donald Trump later pardoned him.
Arpaio lamented the departure of Franks, who announced he would resign on Jan. 31 amid a House Ethics Committee investigation about discussions he had with staff members about surrogacy.
“He is a great man, and a great friend, and it’s a great loss for Arizona and our country,” Arpaio said.
Arpaio took a hard line on immigration while sheriff and also questioned whether President Barack Obama was an American citizen, which made him beloved by the right wing of the Republican Party.
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