Arpaio announces Arizona Senate bid- The Hill.

 Arpaio announces Arizona Senate bid- The Hill.

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Controversial former Arizona county sheriff Joe Arpaio on Tuesday announced he will run for Senate, the Washington Examiner reported.

His candidacy will cast further uncertainty into the state’s GOP Senate primary.

Arpaio gained popularity among immigration hardliners during his time as Maricopa County sheriff, representing the Phoenix area, proudly calling himself “America’s toughest sheriff” and touting a strict approach to border security.

But some of his tactics opened him up to criticisms and allegations of racial-profiling and mistreating prisoners. President Trump pardoned Arpaio last year after he was convicted of ignoring a court order related to racial profiling in his division.

The sheriff, who lost his elected sheriff’s office last year after more than two decades, has long floated bids for higher office. But he told The Washington Examiner on Tuesday that he will enter the race to replace retiring Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).

“I have a lot to offer. I’m a big supporter of President Trump,” he told the paper.

“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 every day, anyway.”

Arpaio joins former state Sen. Kelli Ward (R-Ariz.) in the Republican primary.

Ward, who has been endorsed by former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, had been styling herself as the pro-Trump outsider, so Arpaio’s entry threatens to cut into her support.

Republican Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) is also expected to jump in soon but has not made a formal announcement.

The winner of the GOP primary will likely face Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who is the heavy favorite in the Democratic primary.