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Former sheriff Joe Arpaio plans to run for the Senate in 2018

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks in support of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a Trump campaign rally in August 2016 in Phoenix. Arpaio announced he will run for Senate in Arizona in 2018. (2016 file photo/Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

According to the Washington Examiner, controversial former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio will run for Senate in Arizona in 2018.

In an interview with the Examiner, Arpaio said, "I have a lot to offer. I’m a big supporter of President [Donald] Trump. I’m going to have to work hard; you don’t take anything for granted. But I would not being doing this if I thought that I could not win. I’m not here to get my name in the paper, I get that everyday, anyway."

Arpaio, who served as sheriff of Maricopa County for 24 years, has been the subject of national controversy for years due to his hard line approach on immigration, which has made him popular among Trump's voting base. He has also been accused of mistreatment of prisoners in his jails and the subject of numerous civil lawsuits, which have cost the taxpayers of Maricopa County more than $100 million in settlements, fees, and jury awards.

Arpaio was one of the earliest prominent public supporters of Trump's  presidential candidacy. He was convicted of criminal contempt of court for ignoring judicial orders, but subsequently pardoned by Trump in August before he was sentenced.

Arpaio will enter a Republican primary field that already includes prominent Trump supporter Kelli Ward and is expected to soon include Rep. Martha McSally, who is widely perceived to be the best general election candidate and will likely be favored by the Republican establishment.

Arpaio is 85 years old, and older than all of the current U.S. senators. If elected, he would be 92 at the end of his term.

In his interview with the Examiner, Arpaio promised to make immigration enforcement a central plank of his campaign platform, and offered his thoughts on what should be done about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients who are living in the country:

When they come to your attention that they’re here illegally, these young people, deport them back to Mexico — or whatever — and then try to put them on a fast track to come back into the United States legally with special permits. What’s wrong with that? They’d say they don’t know where their home country is, so let them go there and spend six months, because it might take that long to do paperwork to get them here legally and let them see their home country and see what it's really like. They ought to be proud where they came from. I’m proud being an Italian American. I’m proud of Italy. I’m proud my father, mother came over, proud of it. So, you could kill two birds with one stone.

That would be no amnesty, everybody would be happy, you deport them and then let them come back with all their education here. I’m sure they could find a temporary job or help the foreign countries and build up relations and come back. That’s just a big picture that I have. People may say I’m crazy. What am I crazy about? It just makes sense.

Arpaio will be running for the seat that is being vacated by the retirement of Sen. Jeff Flake (R), who has often had a contentious relationship with President Trump.

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