(CNN) – Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a fixture in Arizona politics, announced Monday that he will not seek the Republican nomination for governor in his home state.
"I just don't want to leave my 4,000 dedicated employees," Arpaio said. "I am going to contribute my service and fight as the Sheriff of Maricopa County."
"I don't want to be egotistical, but I could be the governor if I ran," he boasted. "My polls are very high. I got the money. I got the polls. I got the support."
Arpaio made the announcement in an interview set to air on CNN’s "John King USA" on Monday night.
Had he decided to jump the race, Arpaio would have faced a crowded GOP primary featuring incumbent Gov. Jan Brewer, state Treasurer Dean Martin, Tucson attorney John Munger and and Yavapai County businessman Buz Mills.
Arpaio’s tough approach to law enforcement has earned him a following among anti-illegal immigration activists both in Arizona and around the country. He welcomed the recently-passed Arizona law that grants state police officers greater power in questioning suspected illegal immigrants.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/03/art.joe.arpaio.jpg caption=" 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."