April 30th, 2010
08:19 PM ET
5 years ago

Controversial Arizona sheriff considers run for governor's seat

Joe Arpaio says he will consider a run for the governor's seat over the weekend.
Joe Arpaio says he will consider a run for the governor's seat over the weekend.

Phoenix, Arizona (CNN) – Joe Arpaio, the tough-talking and controversial Arizona sheriff from Maricopa County, says he will consider a run for the governor's seat over the weekend.

Responding to reports that he had already made a decision, Arpaio firmly told reporters Friday that, "I am not running for governor now until I decide over the weekend with a glass of wine and my wife, since my mother and father came here from Italy, with a little spaghetti and meatballs."

His remarks followed a major raid in which 73 undocumented immigrants were taken into custody.

The sheriff - whose showy brand of justice has raised charges of discrimination and civil-rights abuses while making him a hero among fans of his tough-on-crime attitude - is a staunch supporter of Arizona's new immigration law, which will allow police to demand proof of legal residency when it goes into effect in 90 days.

Arizona lawmakers say the law is needed because the federal government has failed to enforce border security with Mexico, allowing more than 450,000 illegal immigrants to move into the state. Critics say the law is unconstitutional and will lead to racial profiling, which is illegal.

Arpaio, whose county includes Phoenix, has cultivated his image as "America's Toughest Sheriff," a nickname earned by his treatment of Maricopa County inmates. Many of his prisoners are housed in tents and forced to wear pink underwear, and he once boasted of feeding them on less than a dollar a day.

He has faced off with the Justice Department and the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona over concerns about the immigrations raids conducted by his department. An ACLU class-action lawsuit alleges that Arpaio has abused the power delegated to him under his agreement with Homeland Security, known as the 287(g) program, which allowed his department to enforce federal immigration laws.

Arpaio also briefly starred in the FOX reality show, "Smile: You're Under Arrest." The show featured Arpaio and other officers using elaborate ploys crafted by comedy writers and carried out by professional actors to arrest suspects with outstanding warrants.


Filed under: Arizona • Popular Posts
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. E. Elliott

    His methods may be a bit rustic/rough. But that is what he is and where he is. The idea is right and it serves the community (those with a right to be there). Good job. My first beef with Obama is his give it away policy to residence and citizenship. Let them stand in line, get educated and without any preference for race, language or color be allowed a chance to earn it, legally.

    April 30, 2010 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  2. Babylove

    I think he should do it- why not continue the biasness Arizona has already embarked upon. This is sure to send the message loud and clear: Arizona is the state for you if you are the right color and have the right status!

    April 30, 2010 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  3. A.B.

    Great!! This is just what Arizona needs!! Another wanna be idiotic governor in addition to the one who currently runs the state. Arizona is becoming a lightening rod for legal controversy, lawsuits and economic boycotts that will criple the state. And then to make things even worse, some voters are foolish enough to vote to re-elect John McCain who is through and is ready for a nursing home. Arizona will become a laughing stock and an embarrasment. to all Arizonians. Sherriff Arpaio, take my advise: GIVE IT UP MAN!! YOU DON'T STAND A CHANCE!!

    April 30, 2010 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  4. DanO H In Jacksonville.

    Heck Joe can skip the governorship and run for the whitehouse.
    It's time we got a no nonsense guy in office. Maybe he could clean up DC.

    April 30, 2010 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  5. DOBBS RETURNS

    So now Mexico is mad at us and Linda Ronstadt wants a boycott. She
    claims we stole the land from her family. Well the land was sold to us
    by Mexico. So quit your yapping, Linda. We are in charge now.

    April 30, 2010 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  6. proud conservative

    Great!! I hope that he is elected. We need more people like this man!

    April 30, 2010 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  7. ib

    i would vote for him if I lived there. This law is overdue; sure wish Va. would look at doing the same thing.

    April 30, 2010 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  8. Jayden,FL

    Hah if he wins he would be one of the most racist governor's ever! it's not the 50s and 60s sheriff... you remind me of that sheriff from the movie the Texas Chainsaw Massacre(2003 version)

    April 30, 2010 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  9. Independent

    OMG! Arizona will become the Wild Wild West with this man. When I see him speaking on tv, really his body language and his words reflect hate against immigrants specially the brown ones. God have mercy on the poor people of Arizona help them to understand that being different does not mean being bad.

    April 30, 2010 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  10. Jay

    Arpaio firmly told reporters Friday that, "I am not running for governor now until I decide over the weekend with a glass of wine and my wife, since my mother and father came here from Italy, with a little spaghetti and meatballs."

    Yep, you sure sound like you're intelligent enough to be at the governor level. Besides being a racist and an idiot, what other qualities would people be able to discern from you.

    Another idiot Republican dreamer.

    April 30, 2010 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  11. Daniel

    Go for it Joe! We need more Americans like you to take a stand and fight when the idiots in Washington have given up and laid down with legs openned in submission!

    April 30, 2010 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  12. Ken in NC

    WOW. Since the Sheriff's mother and father came here from Italy, might he need to carry his "PAPERS" with him at all times. You see, the INDIANS are the only people that are native to the USA as we know it. The Sheriff could face 6 months in prison if he does not have his "PAPERS".

    April 30, 2010 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  13. justin n arizona

    i support the az law but dont want joe as my governor.

    April 30, 2010 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  14. Coward Sheriff

    I am so sick about hearing about this coward sheriff. He hides behind a badge and picks on those who can not fight back. I really hope he does run for office so when he looses we can laugh in his face.

    With all the backlash happening in Arizona this fat ugly uneducated old man does not have a chance of winning. Go back to Italy you coward.

    April 30, 2010 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  15. Ruty

    Joe, you are a breath of fresh air. I have lived in foreign countries. You MUST carry your passport and visa with you at all times. . If you don't –you get locked up! What is wrong with doing that in America? Joe you are on the right track. DON'T GIVE UP!!

    April 30, 2010 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  16. LC in CA

    From the looks of him in the photograph, Big Boy needs to lay off the doughnuts and get some out of the chair.

    April 30, 2010 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  17. kenindrel abram

    how did the human race become so divided, what would've happened if the native americans had an immigration law against the pilgrims (which considering,they probably should've). how can any one human being tell another human being where they can or can't go... this concept eludes me greatly, we all have the same right to every part of the planet , it's all of our PLANET !!!!

    April 30, 2010 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  18. bennie new york

    Oh yes, a supercowboy cop is exactly what the state of Arizona needs...not!

    April 30, 2010 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  19. Albo58

    Arizona and this country needs more leaders like Sheriff Joe! He never apologizes for doing the right thing and the right thing is ENFORCING the law! The worms in Washington aren't qualified to shine his boots!

    April 30, 2010 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  20. Takara

    Good, we need more cops like him.

    April 30, 2010 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  21. Toni

    As if we don't have enough (well-deserved) ridicule being heaped on us and then this putz rears his ugly bigoted head...

    April 30, 2010 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  22. Ashton

    Great news, at least someone got the guts to take head-on the illegal immigrant issue

    April 30, 2010 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  23. R. Limp Baugh

    This bozo better be to prove he's in this country legally – he sure looks like an illegal to me!

    April 30, 2010 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  24. S Callahan

    Can't you come over to New York and run? i don't want to lose Andrew Cuomo as our AG.

    April 30, 2010 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  25. Doug

    This man is the reason why Arizona has a bad name. Arizonans, do not vote for him.

    April 30, 2010 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
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