September 9th, 2010
08:48 AM 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."

Listen: CNN's Mark Preston and Dick Uliano discuss Sheriff Arpaio's potential run for president.


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 • Immigration • Joe Arpaio
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. carol

    How could we elect someone like that He needs to retire as it is.Talk about this country now we would have a mess on our hands.

    September 9, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  2. Steve

    I'd like to announce to the public that I, too, refuse to shut the door on a possible 2012 presidential bid. Granted, nobody's heard of me and I have no particular qualifications for the job, but in today's climate where apparently every person in the country can be considered a possible candidate just because they spout off about it, it seemed like the thing to do. Feel free to send me money while I think about this...

    September 9, 2010 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  3. Just Go AWAY

    OMG, so what is your platform: if yall aint merican, get out. first mexican, chianmans, japs, jews, and oh by the way those colored folks too. the sad part is that he would get a lot of traction from the crazies....Sad day

    September 9, 2010 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  4. Dr Matrix

    The sooner we get rid of this idiot the better. He wouldn't be able to pull his I'm the law and no one questions me in my county crap on a ntional stage. That is assuming enough people are conned by his mostly untrue self image and self promotion. Even without him we have way to many crazy bigoted politicians running this state.

    September 9, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  5. Bruerj

    Never mind that this guy is corrupt, a media hound, ineffective, and a one trick pony (enforcing SB 1070) . He will be 78 in 2012 – his mind is not all there. His chances are poor at best, but he plays the media well, I will give him that, and there are enough really stupid people who would vote for this clown that you never know. Then, I will move to a smarter country – Somalia, perhaps...

    September 9, 2010 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  6. ABM

    Are you kidding me? What are his qualifications aside from law "enforcement"? Does he know how to negotiate with foreign govenments, deal with the economy, or handle a crisis? Due to the fact you may have a tough stance on one issue does not make you Presidential material.

    Don't waste our time and stay out of the public fray.

    September 9, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  7. Rob in MD

    He would have my vote!

    September 9, 2010 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  8. Emerson

    "America's Toughest Sheriff" – Is that the name of new TV reality show? This guy is certainly has presidential stature.

    September 9, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  9. ConstitutionalPatriot

    And the only one who can beat Obama and isn't owned by the establishment is ignored once again. In 2012 Ron Paul or none at all!

    September 9, 2010 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  10. MARKPAIN

    He should run so more attention could focus on his abuse of basic human rights. His antics look good from a distance but think about those things happening in your area.

    September 9, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  11. jim

    We need more sheriffs like this man in our country.However , i don't think that qualifies him to be president.

    September 9, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  12. g

    nomore cowboys in the white house , takes years to clean up there mess

    September 9, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  13. Ron in Califonia

    Doesn[t have the diplomatic skills for a President. But I like his toughness.

    September 9, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  14. Dave

    Joe the Joke thinks he's Buford Pusser, but he's nothing but a stupid man who likes to bully people he's locked up. He's as brave and tough as a kid burning ants with a magnifying glass. If the GOP seriously considers this clown, then they're a bigger laughing stock than anybody's given them credit for... and considering they think Palin is legit, they're already pretty funny.

    September 9, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  15. Bedtime for Obonzo

    Right. Good luck with that, Joe. You'll need it.

    September 9, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  16. Klaxon McFlinderginder

    Yes, the right-wing carnival freak show of candidates just keeps getting weirder and weirder.

    Does he know that crime in the border states is no worse than the rest of the nation, and has been decreasing for years? Does he know that all this gibberish about immigrant violence is basically a total lie?

    Lots of hate out there against Mexicans, gays, Islam, and black presidents. Lots of hate. That's the conservative base, the tie that binds.

    September 9, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  17. Marge

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha this is what a big old fat ego gets you. Delusions of grandour.

    September 9, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  18. Bob of Lompoc

    A gift from the Almighty. I know God loves me, but this is too good to be true. I encourage Republicans to nominate either this horse's behind, or Newt Gingrich, for President, in 2012. Actually, any year would be fine.

    September 9, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  19. Susan in NC

    Just what we need - NOT!

    September 9, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  20. C Smith

    I thought for a second I was on The Onion's website. This guy may be an even worse choice than Palin. Thanks for the laugh to start my day "Tough Sheriff".

    September 9, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  21. ThinkAgain

    Wow, the Republicans are nothing but a bunch of publicity hounds who think that the only qualification you need to be President of the United States and leader of the free world is one attention-grabbing headline.

    Not only are all these Republican presidential wannabes arrogant, they truly hold our country and its citizens in contempt.

    How else do you explain their lack of willingness – and ability – to actually KNOW something about what it takes and means to be POTUS?

    September 9, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  22. Michael in Houston

    perfect candidate for republicans. Right up there with the other quality candidates like Newt and Palin.

    Hey sheriff...you forgot a few important steps....you need to write a book about what an amazing and gifted person you think you are and you need a reality show. Please dont try and get a head of the line for your 15 minutes of fame without taking the appropriate steps that are the standard when nameless nobodies seek the spotlight.

    September 9, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  23. Romney/Gingrich in 2012

    He's a good, tough sheriff, but I'm not sure that I'd want him as the president.

    I hope that more sheriffs learn from his example. Prison-time shouldn't be vacation time. We need to be tougher on criminals–within the written law. Illegal immigration is a crime, not only in America.

    Funny how Obama and his administration refuse to allow AZ to follow national and state law. Obama needs to retire.

    September 9, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  24. ThinkAgain

    Arpaio is just another example of the GOP throwing a bunch of crap at the wall, hoping some of it will stick.

    The GOP doesn't have any ideas that actually work – all of their policies are PROVEN FAILURES – so they're trying to find someone with enough "charisma" to get people to the polls, using their strategies of fear, ignorance, hatred and division.

    The result: It'll be like GW Bush all over again. A dimwit in the White House, controlled by the likes of Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Grover Norquist and all their corporate masters like the Koch brothers. Making policy that helps the wealthy and corporations, to the detriment of the rest of our country.

    September 9, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  25. hillcrester

    Yeah–He can have Joe the Plumber as his VP candidate–remember his 5 minutes of fame?

    September 9, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |