OPINION: Joe Arpaio wants to make Arizona great again via the Senate
Joe Arpaio, "America’s Toughest Sheriff," has decided to throw his hat in the ring for U.S. Senator. This was prompted by Senator Jeff Flake's decision to retire from the seat at the end of his term. The 85-year-old said he can bring “new blood to Washington,” according to a telephone interview. Arpaio also said he was “disturbed” about how senators have been treating President Donald Trump, the man who pardoned him from his criminal contempt conviction.
A strong supporter of Trump from the beginning, Arpaio has decided to run under this notion. This idea was expressed in the tweet he used to announce his candidacy: “I am running for the U.S. Senate from the Great State of Arizona, for one unwavering reason: to support the agenda and policies of President Donald Trump in his mission to Make America Great Again."
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Arpaio, however, will not be the only Republican running with this agenda. Kelli Ward, who currently serves in the Arizona State Senate, also hopes to be a voice to the extreme right of Trump supporters.
“You could argue that it splits up the ‘Trumpy’ vote,” said Flake, and this is the theory that has crossed many minds. If this were to happen, this would pave the way for moderate conservative Martha McSally, currently in the U.S. House of Representatives, to become the nominee.
The strong contempt for moderation held by this new wave of GOP supporters could lead to either Arpaio or Ward backing out of the race, though this seems unlikely.
“Sheriff Joe has been a patriot, but at the end of the day, in terms of running for this election, Kelli Ward is going to be hard to beat. I’m confident that this will not split the vote. The reality is that Kelly has a lot of momentum in the race.” said Eric Beach, strategist of the Ward campaign.
When looking from a social standpoint, Arpaio seems to be the underdog in the election. In 2016, he lost re-election for Sheriff to Democrat Paul Penzone. This gave hope to Democrats in the heavily Republican state that they can defeat Arpaio again.
“We beat him like a drum in 2016, and we’ll beat him like a drum if he runs again,” said House Representative Ruben Gallegos. Like Trump, Arpaio is a household name in Latino communities.
The son of Italian immigrants is well known for his tough stances on immigration, to the point Latinos were profiled for not looking like legal citizens. In addition, Arpaio was well known for patrolling Latino communities heavily, even if they were not high-crime neighborhoods.
Voto Latino and other organizations have taken a hard stance against Arpaio, attempting to prevent him from obtaining the Senate seat at all costs.
Those in Tucson, it being a blue city in a red state, should work hard to get involved in this race. UA students should get involved in campaigns. Not just any campaign, a campaign you truly believe in. If you believe in them, rally behind a third-party candidate.
Sheriff Joe is a backwards man, even though I may have agreed with tent city if its principle purpose was to keep child molesters and rapists, instead of profiled Latinos and non-violent drug offenders.
The man is not all there, just like the man who pardoned him. He is stuck living in a backwards time where America is No. 1. Is it time for Sheriff Joe to come back and Make Arizona Great Again? Of course not, but that is not going to stop the former sheriff of Maricopa County from trying to be Senator.