Joe Arpaio announced tonight that he plans to run for sheriff of Maricopa County in 2020 after losing his most recent reelection bid.
“Watch out world! We are back!” Arpaio, 87, said in a statement. “I will continue to stand and fight to do the right thing for Arizona and America, and will never surrender. Those who break the law will have to deal with this Sheriff.”
Arpaio served as the county’s sheriff for 1993 until 2016, with his 24 years in office making him the longest-serving sheriff in the county’s history.
Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt in 2017 for violating a 2011 order that barred him from detaining people based merely on his suspicions about their immigration status.
Trump pardoned him a month later, saying that after “fifty years of admirable service to our Nation, he [was] a worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon.”
Critics point to his long history of scandal, including policies that racially profiled Latinos and mistreated prisoners.
He also peddled xenophobic conspiracy theories questioning President Obama’s birthplace.
“The last four years have proven to be a time of lost opportunities to continue the kind of tough policing this county needs,” Arpaio wrote in a statement. “Once back in office, I will use my position to restore pride to our law enforcement ranks, not only here, in the fourth-largest county in America, but across the country.”
Joe Arpaio announces 2020 bid for 7th term as Sheriff.
Thousands want me to run for Sheriff. Today Aug 25 announcing run for Sheriff Important day for me. Wife’s Birthday & Pres Trump Pardoned me. Ready for bruising, bitter campaign. Never back down.https://t.co/4dkuVCtCUa
— Sheriff Joe Arpaio (@RealSheriffJoe) August 25, 2019
Arpaio noted that the date of his reelection announcement is the same as when President Trump pardoned him.
Arpaio sparked criticism for housing some prisoners under his supervision in outdoor “tent cities” and using so-called chain gangs.
He said if he were to be reelected sheriff, he would bring back the “tent cities.”
The former sheriff previously ran in the Arizona Republican Senate primary to replace retiring Sen. Jeff Flake (R) but lost to Martha McSally, who was defeated by Sen. Kirsten Sinema (D).
McSally was later appointed to the Senate take over the seat vacated by Sen. Jon Kyl (R).
Arizona’s current sheriff Paul Penzone (D) defeated him Arpaio in a landslide in 2016 and is expected to run for reelection in 2020.