PHOENIX (AP) — Beaten in his last three elections, former Sheriff Joe Arpaio is trying to make another six-term comeback, this time as mayor of the affluent Phoenix suburb where he has lived for the past two decades.
The former police officer announced Tuesday his participation in the 2022 mayoral race in Fountain Hills, a city of about 25,000 on the northeast edge of metro Phoenix.
After being crushed by a Democratic challenger in 2016 after 24 years as a sheriff, Arpaio finished third in a Republican primary for a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2018 and second in the GOP primary in his 2020 bid for the position. from the sheriff. In both comeback attempts, Arpaio lost the ballot in Fountain Hills.
In an interview, Arpaio said his latest comeback bids failed because he entered those races too late in the election cycle and that his early entry into the mayoral race is an attempt to avoid the same fate.
He rejects criticism that he should walk away from public life. The 89-year-old said he is still in good health and wants to promote a pro-business agenda on behalf of the city. “It’s not in me to retire,” Arpaio said.
According to his latest campaign finance reports, Arpaio, a veteran political fundraiser who spent more than $12 million on his sheriff’s campaign in 2016, has $284,000 in campaign money.
Arpaio was voted out of office in 2016 amid voter frustration at his headline-grabbing tactics and legal troubles, including his disobeying a 2011 judge’s order to halt his traffic patrols, leading to his criminal conviction from the court. in 2017, who was then pardoned -President Donald Trump.
Before the federal government and the courts took away his immigration powers, Arpaio led 20 large-scale traffic patrols targeting immigrants and more than 80 corporate raids to arrest people who were working in the United States without authorization.
Although his defiant streak played well with voters for years, Arpaio faced heavy criticism for adopting policies he knew were controversial, bringing in $147 million in taxpayer-funded legal bills.
Though he labeled himself America’s strictest sheriff, his agency botched the investigation of more than 400 sex crime complaints filed with his office.
Fountain Hills does not have a police department and instead has contracts with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement.
Arpaio and businessman Kelly Smith are the only candidates to file paperwork so far with the city expressing interest in the mayoral race. Although she has not yet filed this paperwork, incumbent Mayor Ginny Dickey said she will seek reelection next year.