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.


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soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. Eva

    "my mother and father came here from Italy, with a little spaghetti and meatballs"..... and I bet even din't speak English too, just like this illegal immigrants....... May be they were bought here illegally to work on railroad and treated by others just as you are treating these illegals ......... Same on you ! Its because they came here from Italy you got good education in America and you are Sheriff, if it was not for their hard work you would still be in Italy working in farms could not even speak English. Why dont you want these poor people to achieve what you got from America? Whom would you vote for Joe Arpaio or Jan Brewer or Democrat ??

    April 30, 2010 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  2. Maynard Walden

    I think that we should build a wall that would keep all of people who would want to come to the US should come the legal way. Our country is in such a shape,we can hardly care for our own.Americans can"t since we sold out to other countrys Maybe they should head for China Or Viet Nam.Can you emagine it has 35 years today that we up an ran Now we are there best trading partner. Now that is a good place to go there our no fences there, Nor border patrol,and jobs are easy to find

    May 1, 2010 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  3. FredaPeople

    This man is a joke among his peers in Arizona. Actually, no, they are not laughing at him, they are too busy reassuring their own command and their constituencies that they will never “rule” in the same manner as Sheriff Joe. (Yes. I’m talking about most of the 14 other county sheriffs in Arizona). He defines the term “Blowhard.” If Maricopa County could recover the monies lost in the lawsuits that have been won or settled against this guy, they could reopen all the schools, parks and libraries that now struggle due to lack of funding. My dwindling faith in Arizona’s electorate notwithstanding, I hope he runs and gets his pink boxers handed back to him.

    May 1, 2010 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  4. ted409

    id vote for him

    May 1, 2010 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  5. Stephanie

    If I were an AZ resident he would have my vote. We don't have anyone worth voting for in CA for Gov wish he was running in CA.

    May 1, 2010 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  6. Bill O really

    Joe Arpaio sounds to hispanic and he is kinda brown. Could someone please check his birth certificate!!!!!! And make sure he has them with him, otherwise arrest him and deport his big brown 666 to South America...........................

    May 1, 2010 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  7. Sandy

    When I think of Arpaio as governer, I think of how Oscar Goodman has done as mayor of Las Vegas.

    May 1, 2010 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  8. Bill O really

    Joe looks too much like my gardener...I would like to see his papers are in order...Make sure he didn't sneak in the country illegally...So much hate , reminds me of Hitler and the hate against the Jewish community.....If you know what I mean....He just looks "not white",. Say it isn't so Joe! I would like to make one point very clear, the only true Americans are those that were long been exterminated and the few indigenous groups that make it across the border for work...Seem we don't need any spaghetti western in Arisona...After all the name was Arizona is hispanic...ha ha ha ha!!!! The irony....

    May 1, 2010 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  9. Terry

    Maybe we need to put a bounty on illegals. At least it would put Americans back to work.

    May 1, 2010 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  10. snowscum

    Hope he gets in. Stand up for this country!

    May 1, 2010 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  11. Duane Bernard, Tucson, Az

    Dog catcher ...... BUT governor NO! When you are as paranoid about skin color as Arpaio is ....you should not be in a position of power that effects the lives of people. He needs to retire to his lounge chair and cuss at the TV about how the minorities are trying to take over the earth! He should also see his doctor about losing some weight to lower his blood preasure. The last time I saw him on TV he talked and shouted so much I thought he was going to pop!

    May 1, 2010 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  12. carl trantham

    He has my vote if he ever comes to Austin, Tx. All of the panty government officials a so afraid to offend sombody they just speak continual BS. Even the gov, and I thought he was, being an aggie and all, at least somewhat clayton williams like duh.. manly. But no.... he jumped up today feathering his support and squeeming around the question of illegal immigrants. What is not understood about ILLEGAL?
    I am all for immigration, There is a way to do this as my relatives did.
    Everybody is trying to make this an emotional, racial thing. I don't feel guilty. Illegal is illegal, Give me the sherriff and his "this is what I say and this is what is" straight ahead delivery. None of this whine and moan and hit somebody from behind type like in our state government. Serious puss is what we have

    May 1, 2010 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  13. Jim Straton

    At least one official knows how to do his job! Keep up the good work Sheriff!

    May 1, 2010 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  14. maggieb

    I really respect this guy, and wish he were in Texas .

    May 1, 2010 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  15. Anonymous

    How Ironic, this man is clearly a mexican-american himself

    May 1, 2010 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  16. Klaxon McFlinderginder

    I have a new motto for them: "Arizona – The Police State."

    May 1, 2010 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  17. Julia

    Arpaio is a corrupt media showboater whose antics on the streets and in the jails have resulted in lawsuits that have cost the county millions of dollars. He's done nothing to make the county safer- he focuses on high-profile sweeps that net easy-to-catch illegal immigrants like janitors and street vendors instead of actual law enforcement operations that would catch dangerous criminals. Don't get me wrong- I'd like to deport all illegal immigrants, but given the choice, I'd catch the dangerous ones like the drug smugglers and kidnappers first. God help us if he becomes governor of this state.

    May 1, 2010 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  18. David

    Parents came from Italy, huh? Got papers to prove they're legal? Got paper proving HE'S legal?

    May 1, 2010 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  19. arpiaoisajoke

    I have lived in AZ all my life over 50yr and this guy has done more harm and cost the state more money in fighting law suites than anyone I can remember. He is an egotistical nightmare. If AZ was not full of ignorant Republicans that keep voting him back in he would probably be in jail by now for his actions against human rights and civil rights abuse, how he has stayed out is beyond me. Any one with a heart or a conscience would have to just say NO to this absurdity including the racist immigration law. It all goes hand in hand. Omg I hate this place more and more. This is the face of the Republican party and the Tea Partiers, JUST MAKES YOU SICK.
    Do your research before bashing me about my post OK get a brain.

    May 1, 2010 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  20. Clifford in New York

    Joe you ought to just run for president!

    May 1, 2010 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  21. Benorado

    I am against ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. As a citizen who has been reciting the POA since a child in grade school, it is my duty to uphold our laws. I'm not against this new bill, but I can't deny the politics it plays. It's not perfect, but it's a start in a direction we need to explore.

    May 1, 2010 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  22. Jeff

    I think what Arpaio is doing is magnificent for the US and the future of the country as a whole. If anyone doesn't see that they don't know reality.

    May 1, 2010 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  23. Marcus

    Great.
    The lamest show-off sheriff of the USA is considering a political career.
    Just great.
    BTW, did all his talk and talk and controversial ideas had a positive effect in the county's criminality?
    Answers provided by an INDEPENDET and RELIABLE source, please.

    May 1, 2010 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  24. orange bowl

    What a hypocrit, did this guy forget his own parents were immigrants?

    May 1, 2010 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  25. HD

    ...he knew, "Prepare for the worest(immigration law) and HOPE for the BEASTS".

    May 1, 2010 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
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