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Trump ally Sheriff Joe Arpaio launches US Senate bid

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Joe Arpaio, the controversial Arizona ex-sheriff with hardline anti-immigration views who was pardoned last year by President Donald Trump, announced on Tuesday he is running for the US Senate.

“I am running for the US 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,” the 85-year-old Republican said on Twitter.

Arpaio seeks to replace outgoing Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican who has voiced strong criticism against Trump and is not running for re-election in November.

By entering the race, Arpaio would pit himself against conservative Kelli Ward in this year’s Republican primary.

For 24 years Arpaio was the sheriff of Maricopa County, where he developed a reputation as a fervent opponent of illegal immigration.

Trump’s pardon last August ensured that Arpaio avoided jail time after he was convicted of violating a court order to halt traffic patrols targeting suspected unauthorized immigrants.

Trump has called Arpaio “a great American patriot.” But critics say the lawman’s policies were blatantly discriminatory and aimed at Latinos.

Arpaio also made county prisoners wear pink underwear and housed them in tent camps where temperatures were stifling.

The new candidate blasted out a fundraising email immediately after his announcement, saying Trump “needs my help in the Senate.

“He needs a conservative vote he can count on, and a voice in the Senate who knows first hand the threats our nation is dealing with,” Arpaio wrote.


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