May 3rd, 2010
10:17 AM ET
8 years ago

Controversial Arizona sheriff may announce run for governor

 Sheriff Arpaio is contemplating a run for governor of Arizona.

Sheriff Arpaio is contemplating a run for governor of Arizona.

PHOENIX, Arizona (CNN) - Joe Arpaio, the tough-talking and controversial Arizona sheriff from Maricopa County, may announce as early as Monday whether he will run for the governor's seat.

Responding to reports that he had 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."

"People want me to run for governor. Every day, around the nation.Everybody, here, they want me to run," he said. "I have to make a big decision this weekend."

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.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said changes to the law that she approved Friday,which clarify that police could only stop suspected illegal immigrants whileenforcing some other law or ordinance, should eliminate concerns about racialprofiling.

The Republican governor is seeking re-election.

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 wearpink underwear, and he once boasted of feeding them on less than a dollar aday.

He has faced off with the Justice Department and the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona over concerns about the immigration 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

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

Filed under: Arizona • Immigration • Joe Arpaio • Popular Posts
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Go Sheriff Joe, but honestly, I'd rather see you run as President. This country needs someone just like Sheriff Joe to get us out of the mess we're in.

    May 3, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  2. j

    Sounds good, BUT it`s a sure way to start a war with international complications ( Mexico) ---

    May 3, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  3. Terry

    If I lived in Arizona he'd get my vote. Common sense still makes sense to me.

    May 3, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  4. cspurgeon

    Yes right on and then build a wall around Arizona to keep them away from the rest of the country. We already have enough wackos thanks!!

    May 3, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  5. Linda

    I'll vote for him. I'm sick of criminals hiding behind Civil Rights and abusing the reason the law was created in the first place. Only in America.

    May 3, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  6. jeff jackson, alabama

    The only reason he is called controversial
    is because he tried new ideas in his
    Arizona jail that actually worked. Liberals
    fought his ideas but he was persistant
    and prevailed. Don't see how that makes
    him qualified to be Governor but I'm
    just saying.

    May 3, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  7. Gale

    I hope he runs. I'm so sick of prisoners having more rights that victims. We need some stronger people in office and not so many whiners taking up for illegals and criminals.

    May 3, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  8. Troubled Independent

    He's got my vote!

    May 3, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  9. gil

    I'll send a campaign donation! Move to Texas and become the gov here- we need you!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 3, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  10. Brenda

    Run Sheriff Joe!!!

    Based on all polls--Arizona and national polls--you will definitely win.

    It will result in a double bonus for Arizona-–as illegals AND liberals will pack up and leave.

    If Sheriff Joe runs, Sheriff Joe will win!!!!

    May 3, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  11. librarian

    It figures. A fascist at the helm. I wonder if he will get the Latino vote. At the very least, I am boycotting his state.

    May 3, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  12. Anonymous

    This is not 1810- our states and government offices need people that know something about governing. What qualification does this man have?
    Has been the head of a successful business? Worked to negotiate the ddgood of oters, Is he an ecomomist?
    I just don't get it.

    May 3, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  13. Marry

    He must think that he has a lot of support in Arizona. But, not all problems are solved with a “strong hand”. There is much more that people need. Education, fair working conditions, a good and fair immigration bill, support for families, etc. Bringing a state forward these days to serve the interest of the PEOPLE takes intelligence for comprehensive solutions, modern thinking, communication, and the mind and heart on the right spot. All things that sheriff Joe Arpaio does not have. I find him more in the old “Wild West” corner and the “iron fist” type without much compassion for people that are not the way he is (I am not talking about criminals!). It will be interesting to see what kind of people the majority of Arizonans are made out of – should the sheriff run.

    May 3, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  14. brandon snyder

    he is a hero to the american people. he sticks up for american rights. he has shown the us population that we wont take immigration as a joke and he is the best sheriff in this country. just think what the us would be like if everyone who immigrated to the country took a test and if they failed they wouldnt be allowed in until they took a class? just a thought..

    May 3, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  15. Ben Dover

    Although I support him he is too divisive to ever be governor. Enforcing the LAW has become a controversial issue in this age of entitlement. The fact that most of us are legal immigrants and support legal immigration has no affect on the pro ILLEGAL crowd.

    May 3, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  16. Travis In Colorado

    Sir, if I lived in Arizona you would have my vote! I like what you do, I appreciate what you do. We need that kind of action here in Colorado, and all around the country. I believe that you will make a fine governor. Best of luck to you and God Speed!

    May 3, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  17. Patricia

    Right on, Sheriff Joe! Go Joe, Go!

    May 3, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  18. Rush is to far left

    Yep, run for governor Joe, and make the rest of the police in the state be as tough as you are. Once you get Arizona straightened out, then you can work on the rest of the country.

    You are what is needed. Someone that upholds the laws already in place. The country does not need very many new laws, we just need the laws we have to be enforced.

    Which part of the word "illegal" do these people not understand?

    May 3, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  19. Enough

    Controversial.........why? Because he is trying to enforce the law. Enough with the illegal immigrants crossing our borders, committing crimes, filling our jails and bankrupting our states. It has NOTHING to do with racism and everything to do with following the law of the land.

    May 3, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  20. Fair is Fair

    "since my mother and father came here from Italy"

    And herein lies the difference – they came here LEGALLY.

    May 3, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  21. Sue

    I'd vote for the guy in a heartbeat. He isn't afraid to stand up for his convictions, America's supposed convictions, and the LAW as it is written. This is unlike most politicians these days-he stands by his word. He treats criminals like criminals, within the law. He treats illegal immigrants like illegal immigrants, within the law. HE obeys the written laws of his state and his country. He believes in the Constitution the way it was written, not how he "interprets" as he wishes. If most of our politicians stood up for the law as to how it is written, we would not have the problems we now have, especially concerning illegal immigration. And if he can feed his inmates for under a buck a day, hey, he probably could do something with the economy, too. Maybe AZ is the next place to live....?!

    May 3, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  22. Ruty

    I hope you win Joe. This country needs more people like you. If they have nothing to hide-then show me your papers.

    May 3, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  23. FM

    We have heard a lot of controversial from Arizona. From being a Maverick and denying it, to Madame Brewer with her paper showing up and now this Sheriff wants to continue with his new ones!! No more please.

    May 3, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  24. AZEric

    There is no denying that there are issues that need to be addressed and soon, but not in accordance with this man's brand of degrading lunacy. He has been on a power trip that would only get worse with such an outcome.

    I love my country and my state and am saddened that figures like this individual who's actions in a way give comfort and encouragement to extremists who's actions without conscience demonstrate the faults of humanity.

    The ideology this man represents is exactly what the lessons of the dark past effectively warn us of. Let's hope the majority of us have learned from such painful lessons and exercise our rights and civil duty at the polls. There is an abundance of discrimination and hateful rhetoric and actions and we need those that work toward unwinding it instead of ratcheting it up. Working together and exercising civility we can resolve the issues we face much more effectively.

    May 3, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |