Sheriff Joe Arpaio wants his old job back, and he’s preparing for a “bruising, bitter campaign.”
Arpaio announced his seventh bid for Maricopa County, Arizona sheriff on Sunday, hoping to return to the post he once held for 24 years, from 1993 through 2016.
“On this day, August 25, 2019, after consultation and approval from my wife of 61 years, Ava, I have decided to run to be re-elected sheriff,” Arpaio said in a news release. “Watch out world! We are back!”
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 announced his 2020 bid on his wife’s birthday, the same day President Trump pardoned the sheriff for “a scurrilous misdemeanor contempt charge filed by President Obama’s administration,” according to the release.
“The last four years have proven to be a time of lost opportunities to continue the kind of tough policing this county needs,” Arpaio said. “Once back in the office, I will use my position to restore pride in our law enforcement ranks, not only here, in the fourth-largest county in America, but across the country.”
Arpaio contends he was compelled to run for re-election by many thousands of supporters in Arizona and elsewhere. He said his mission is to “Make Maricopa County Safe Again.”
“I will continue to stand and fight to do the right thing for Arizona and America, and will never surrender,” he said. “Those who break the law will have to deal with this sheriff.”
Arpaio promises to re-open his infamous “Tent City Jail” and restore popular jail policies, such as dressing inmates in pink. He also vowed to bring back his “Posse” of volunteers. The posse members undergo background checks but are not certified officers, though they do wear badges and patches with MCSO logos.
Some posse members have carried firearms and used MCSO vehicles with authority from Arpaio to make arrests and assist deputies.
The posse was dismantled under Democrat sheriff Paul Penzone, a former sergeant in the Phoenix Police Department who defeated Arpaio in the 2016 election, the Phoenix New Times reports.
Penzone also brought in new leadership, eliminated the tent city and inmate chain gangs that were common under Arpaio.
While Arpaio has gained notoriety for his unique jail programs and focus on apprehending illegal immigrants, his lengthy law enforcement career stretches back more than five decades and includes several high profile positions within the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Arpaio served as the head of the DEA in Turkey, Mexico City and Latin America, as well as DEA operations in Arizona and Texas.
He’s also a strong supporter of President Trump and was among the first to back his bid for president at a Phoenix rally in 2015.
In the Sunday announcement, Arpaio’s campaign highlighted the sheriff’s achievements and the “fake and biased news attacks” that have plagued his controversial approach to law and order.
Regardless, the Arpaio campaign is confident Maricopa County voters will put him back in office in 2020.
“Winning next year’s election will give him an unprecedented seventh term in office. Arpaio has never lost a Republican primary for Sheriff and he is the only Republican Sheriff re-elected in the past 100 years in Maricopa County,” the announcement read. “His expected opponent, a Democrat, will be finishing his first, and likely only term as Sheriff, in 2020.”