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. ufadoof

    He might end up running his presidential campaign from a federal prison cell. Of course neo cons would love him even more. That would tie into their whole anti-gov't rhetoric thing.

    September 8, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  2. David Pawlowski

    Joe Arpaio is the real deal Yankee. Love him or hate him you know what he stands for every day. If Arizona is lucky then Joe would make a great candidate for Govenor or Senator. As for the Presidency, if Joe wants to really shake things up then forget the Republican backed Potemkin village party (AKA rhymes with ME) and run as an independent with a former anchor from CNN who also tells it like it is and backs the fast disappearing American Middle Class. Independents would flock to the cause and give Joe and Lou a real shot at the Presidency. Go for it.

    September 8, 2010 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  3. Stephen, in the depths of central Georgia

    Arpaio has little grasp of the US Constitution. I doubt he can preserve, protect and defend it effectively.

    September 8, 2010 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  4. vaderslith

    run Joe run you'll get my vote sick of the establishment and being P.C. all the time...

    September 8, 2010 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  5. Djinn

    Is there a national office of dogcatcher? He would lose to Sharron Angle.

    September 8, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  6. Albo58

    Sheriff Joe would really shake things up in Washington because he could always be counted on to do the right thing vs the party thing or the lobbyist thing, or the easy thing, or the simple thing! Without even trying, he'd be a 100% better than what we are suffering under now!

    September 8, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  7. Marcus

    Did anybody checked his numbers to start calling him that?
    I don't know who he or she is, but "America's Toughest Sheriff" is definitely NOT Joe Arpaio.
    Check how small or big is the percentage of crimes solved and of perpetrators that face a judge.
    Check if he had really saved money for the county or had to cut expense after he managed to raise all the premiums, that the insurance company to which the county (or at least his department) has a contract with fines the county for, due to the results of his policies.
    Then check how many people he killed that made the mistake of being honest, law-abiding and getting arrested under his policies...
    Do some research about him (especially the official numbers that he is bound by law to provide to everybody to see)!!!

    September 8, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  8. Gary

    That's just what we need. A NUT in the white house.

    September 8, 2010 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  9. Naik

    Reminds me of Hitler's early days

    September 8, 2010 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  10. jim

    We need more sheriffs like this man in our country.Illegal immigration has got to stop.Union bosses have abandoned their member's interest.

    September 8, 2010 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  11. KatR

    Heaven help us if this man runs for President. I've lived in AZ for over 30 yrs and can tell you that a President Arpaio would be akin to an Adolf Hitler. The only difference would be that instead of Jews being exterminated Arpaio would exterminate all Mexicans.

    September 8, 2010 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  12. Jim

    He has "passed" on running for Gov multiple times. He'll travel any distance to get in front of a camera. Pres? HaHaHaHaHaHaHa

    September 8, 2010 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  13. Angi's mom

    Has Sheriff Joe read the Constitution lately?

    September 8, 2010 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  14. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Joe is my ex- boss and a good one I might add. He always did what he promised without being asked and I admire him for that but I don't know if running for President is what he really wants.

    September 8, 2010 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  15. Charles

    The Sheriff lacks the intelligence to be anything higher than Sheriff.

    September 8, 2010 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  16. Kana

    I do agree with his tough stand on law enforcement from providing essential food, shelter & clothing to inmates in his care. As well as his enforcement of U.S. immigration law pertaining to allegal alliens where the federal gov't has failed.
    However I don't beleive he would have enough support to succeed in a run for president. If anything his possible candidacy would generate interest away from possible opposing candidates.

    September 8, 2010 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  17. Willy Brown

    You got my vote Joe.

    September 8, 2010 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  18. mlander

    What a waste of time for all concerned.

    September 8, 2010 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  19. Mainehunter

    What would we do if suddenly we had a true American with cajones, Joe Arpaio as the President of the United States? It boggles the mind to think that someone would actually enforce the laws in the United States. It seems like too mmuch of a stretch that we would have a president who would make hard decisions and fix this country. Please, please Joe Arpaio, run for president!.

    September 8, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  20. Kris

    way to go Mr. Joe.... You have my vote....

    September 8, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  21. Dave in Arizona

    He should run. The more fanatic conservatives will vote for him and further break the Republican party into extreme factions for the primaries, and lead to resentment between them come the presidential election.

    Palin should run, too.

    Americans do love their reality TV.

    September 8, 2010 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  22. Mary

    As a black hispanic and a republican.i would proudly cast my vote for that great man.

    September 8, 2010 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  23. Nick

    Yeh, next elect a clown. When things get touch, just ride it out instead of finding people to blame.

    September 8, 2010 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  24. Eber

    Then the country goes down on the drain.

    September 8, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  25. lauren kelly

    Anyone seriously entertaining this mans bid for any public office needs to seriously look at the Maricopa County sheriffs dept. treatment of prisoners. A well known fact to AR Media and public is its mistreatment of prisoners and "accidental" deaths of some of those who later were found to be incarcirated under mistaken identity. Americans didnt stand for mistreatment of foreigners in Guitanimo Bay yet we stand for it in our own prison system. The NAACA should look into it and at the very least make this mans treatment of prisoners known nationwide before he ends up Americas Hitler.

    September 8, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
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