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Joe Arpaio and Donald Trump

Newly pardoned Joe Arpaio said he may challenge Jeff Flake for his Senate seat

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Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said he is open to challenging Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) for his U.S. Senate seat in 2018.

President Trump pardoned Arpaio, one of his early supporters and a controversial immigration hardliner, last Friday.

“I could run for mayor, I could run for legislator, I could run for Senate,” Arpaio told The Washington Examiner Monday.

“I’m sure getting a lot of people around the state asking me,” he added of challenging Flake, a vocal critic of Trump’s.

“All I’m saying is the door open and we’ll see what happens. I’ve got support. I know what support I have.”

Arpaio, 85, added that age would not dissuade him from seeking public office and then serving as an elected official.

“There is discrimination against senior citizens, big time,” he said. “I’m proud to be my age. I work 14 hours a day. If anyone thinks my age is going to hold me back, I’ve got news for them.”

“With what I’ve seen happening in recent months, especially with what’s happening with our president, I said, ‘Hey, why not?’” Arpaio added of seeking office. “The bottom line is there’s no way I’m going to go fishing. I have no hobbies.”

Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt last month for disobeying a federal judge’s order on detaining individuals suspected of being in the U.S. illegally.

A Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation had previously concluded Arpaio’s office racially profiled Latinos.

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Flake already has one Republican Senate primary challenger next year in former Arizona state Sen. Kelli Ward.

Trump has repeatedly criticized Flake after the senator published a book earlier this year criticizing the president’s role in the GOP.

The president tweeted last week that he is “not a fan of Jeff Flake, [who’s] weak on crime & [the] border!”

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