September 8th, 2010
06:14 PM ET
4 years ago

'America's Toughest Sheriff' considers presidential bid

 Sheriff Arpaio is considering a 2012 bid.
Sheriff Arpaio is considering a 2012 bid.

Washington (CNN) - "America's Toughest Sheriff" Joe Arpaio passed on running for governor earlier this year, but the Arizona lawman who has become a national figure for his tough stand on illegal immigration is not closing the door on a presidential run in 2012.

Arpaio, the controversial sheriff of Maricopa County, heads to the early presidential proving ground of New Hampshire Sunday to headline the Nashua Republican City Committee lunch.

"I am honored by this invitation to speak to the largest local Republican Party organization in the great state of New Hampshire," Arpaio said in a statement. "As a native New Englander, I'm looking forward to visiting this state that historically chooses who our next President will be."

Chad Willems, Arpaio's political adviser, said that the sheriff is "not going back to test the waters," but did acknowledge that "People just don't go to New Hampshire if they are not interested in these things."

Willems went on to highlight Arpaio's ability to raise money, the fact that he is often sought out by the national media and "is well known throughout the country."

"He enjoys being sheriff, but he has been asked by and urged by so many people, thousands of people call and write or email him each week saying, 'Run for president, run for president,' " Willems said.

Arpaio earned his nickname for his strict policies towards prisoners and recently has been engaged in a battle with the Obama administration over the issue of illegal immigration.

It will be a homecoming of sorts for Arpaio, who was born across the border in Springfield, Massachusetts. He also was a Drug Enforcement Administration official in New England in the 1970s.

Arpaio joins a long list of Republicans such as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, among others, who are expected to seriously consider a bid for the GOP presidential nomination.


Filed under: 2012 • Extra • Immigration
soundoff (130 Responses)
  1. sfrussell1963

    Now there's a big waster of time! First, Arpaio is nearly 80 years old. Will be by the time the elections roll around. Second, by that time the Justice Department will have eaten him for lunch. Anyone who believes his open defiance of DOJ is on principle is several fries short of a full order. He has actively and openly been profiling for years. He's hiding something or there would be no reason for "America's Toughest Sheriff" to deny cooperation with the Feds. He'll be damaged goods long before the New Hampshire primary. This is his very large ego talking and nothing else.

    September 8, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  2. Terry

    Think he would do much better job than what we have now would look out for real americans.

    September 8, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  3. vic

    Best ticket Sarah Pailn / Joe Arpaio

    September 8, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  4. JC

    Run Arpaio, Run!!!! In the last 4 elections there has been no one to vote for. All you could do was vote for the lesser of two evils. Finally, someone that has some common sense. You have my vote Mr. Arpaio!!

    September 8, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  5. pinder

    OMG! First off let me say that I live in Sheriff Joe's county. If he would have just stuck with tent city, pink underwear and being tough with criminals it would have been OK. But that didn't get him enough attention, so he started these illegal immigrant sweeps (racial profiling) instead of taking care of business (over 40,000 outstanding warrants), he continually refuses to comply with records requests, from the press, state and federal government (they're all picking on him, Waa!), when they try to hide public records it's because of the dirt their trying to sweep under the rug. I sure hope people are smart enough to see through this guy.

    September 8, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  6. Roman Darien

    You're joking!! Sheriff Arpaio has changed–his new altered state is up over the curb–or maybe he's been out in the Arizona sun too long!! There was a time when he was the epitome of fairness in Maricopa County. Not now.
    There's a simple solution to our immigration situation. We'd definitely need the assistance of the Mexican Government, but the guest worker program could be dealt with by a system similar to that employed by US–Canadian efforts. Then all the poor deportees wouldn't wind up working in the Mexican drug cartel–which is what WILL happen if the mean-spiritness of Sheriff Arpaio and Jan Brewer continues. Arizona and its citizens are really decent people overall, but radical behavior is not!

    September 8, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  7. texan

    you have my families vote

    September 8, 2010 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  8. jasonK

    While I support his stance on illegal immigration, Joe is an epitome of ineptness at the best. Spends a million dollar on the sweep but only manages to net 10-12 illegals per million spent. Most of the time runs over budget with lot of money lost on fake lawsuit his department brings out. I would be a supporter if he was not a dog and pony show. Also loves to have his photos taken with ultra racist groups like most other republicans.

    September 8, 2010 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    I'm a politically moderate late twentysomething and I would vote for this man in a heartbeat. I have nothing against Obama, but not enough is being done about these illegal immigrants. I tried to pull myself out of blue collar jobs because of the intense competition with these underground workers. I have over 50K in student loans for a college degree that I can't turn into a career because I can't take an entry level position and still make my loan payments. I'd default and and it would fall on my parents who cosigned to make the payments. I'm stuck in the blue collar role I began in. Corporate America and the upper class will exploit cheap labor as long as they can. The liberal elites have nothing but sympathy for this growing segment of their base but it's working-class America that pays for this problem.

    September 8, 2010 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  10. EZG

    OMG-lookout USA. You have no idea what Joe is about. Dont be fooled. He is dangerous. There are a few good things about him but overall, he is pure evil and should be stopped. And some said Obama is the antichrist.

    September 8, 2010 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  11. anotherGDlefty

    Why not?

    With all the other wackadoodle GnOP'ers crowding the field, why can't my insane sheriff join them?

    Palin / Arpaio 2012.

    A democrats dream team...............

    September 8, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  12. KHM

    We in ARizona know Sheriff Joe as blustering meglomaniac who feels his office gives him the right to trample on anyone's civil rights. He disguises his blatant bigotry towards hispanics and blacks under the guise of "America First" philosophy. The only thing first in Joe Arpaio's mind is his own blinding ambition. Ask the state how much it has already cost us in lawyers fees to defend his blatant abuse of civil decencies. He's popular with those who share his dislike and condescension for anything or anyone of a different color or ethnic group. We've slipped down a long slippery slope if we can't come up with better candidates that Joe Arpaio.

    September 8, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  13. E. Coli-Tainted Palin Word Salad Consumed By Media

    He'll do as well as that other Yahoo, McCain, from down there in those there parts of Arizona, also, too, right Ms. Failin', Bailin', Quittin' Palin Ice-Chip-on-My-Shoulder-Grizzly-Gal?

    September 8, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  14. beevee

    This pigheaded moron for the presidence of the country? Laughable.

    September 8, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  15. Allie

    This would be the final nail in America's coffin!

    September 8, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  16. MARK

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH THis clown for president? As bad as Palin. Wasted money.. CRime is still at the same rate through all his years. He intimidates people from threats. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Arpio your kidding right? This guy does nothing like the rest of them. Not a DAMN thing. HE is a clown. He doesnt know how to be fiscally responsible. He sure doesnt care about people and as a typical politician a media HOUND> DOWN w idiocy,,,,,DOWN w Arpio!

    September 8, 2010 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  17. yoohoo

    Apaio can get on his knees and do you know what

    September 8, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  18. gladyola

    This is a thought too horrible to comtemplate, a disaster of epic proportion. He is deferring attention from the DOJ investigation presently examining his past activities violating federal law. This is a smoke screen as big as his ego. "Let the games begin".

    September 8, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  19. vburke

    Sure, what's another fascist loon in the mix.

    September 8, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  20. idb

    It doesn't matter much who is president. It is the bureaucracy behind the president that makes a mess of it. The first thing that will happen to Sheriff Arpaio is that he gets entangled in smear campaigns and more. As for the present problems? Congress is the problem. Obama just makes it worse.

    September 8, 2010 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  21. Mike

    Just what we need, another President who's not afraid to break the law in order to advance his agenda.

    September 8, 2010 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  22. Klaxon McFlinderginder

    The carnival freak show of right wing presidential hopefuls just keeps getting weirder and weirder.

    GOP: the sanity-optional party

    September 8, 2010 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  23. Peter s

    Go for it Mr. Sheriff Arpaio and you can only win wearing a pink underwear!!

    September 8, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  24. support

    If you run,you have my vote and three hundred people in connecticut.it about time we have a person that presents we the people and not illegals and other countries like Obama.

    September 8, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  25. Calvin WC

    He'll likely adopt the Sharon Angle approach...no questions please

    September 8, 2010 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
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