Joe Arpaio is running for U.S. Senate. He wants to be the Republican to replace retiring Republican Sen. Jeff Flake.
Arpaio is unfit for public office.
The Star Editorial Board usually waits until the primary or even general election season to weigh in on candidates for public office. The news of Arpaio’s run merits a more immediate response.
Arpaio, 85, is a living caricature of what is so rancid in politics. He has demonstrated, again and again, that his priority is burnishing his right-wing hero status at the expense of justice, at the expense of public safety, at the expense of the people he swore to serve as sheriff of Maricopa County.
Like the man he so openly admires, Donald Trump, Arpaio’s career has been spun from publicity stunts, recklessness and big talk.
A Republican favorite, Arpaio nonetheless lost re-election for sheriff last year to a Democratic newcomer.
Arpaio made himself a household name by dressing county jail inmates in pink, housing them in tents in the extreme heat or cold and feeding them green bologna sandwiches.
Arpaio is a birther — claiming that he has “evidence” from a five-year “investigation” that former President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States — a claim that has been disproven so thoroughly it’s a punch line.
Most egregious were his immigration raids and racial profiling and unlawful detention of Latinos. Investigations into Arpaio’s practices found that deputies were spending time pulling over drivers to check their immigration status instead of responding to reports of sexual assault and other serious crimes.
Arpaio’s decision to target Latinos in Maricopa County —on the pretense he was fighting illegal immigration — made him the focus of Justice Department investigations. In 2011, the department found he was doing “unconstitutional policing.”
Finally, in 2015, Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt for violating a court order stemming from a civil case because he refused to stop the detention and harassment of Latinos.
Trump pardoned Arpaio last year, and Arpaio has made it crystal clear he is all-in for Trump.
Arpaio is a master self-promoter and knows what plays to a crowd —a largely older, white crowd.
Arpaio has demonstrated his disregard, if not animosity, for Arizonans and the rule of law. He is unworthy of elected office.