YUMA, Ariz. - The controversial former Arizona sheriff, Joe Arpaio, who received a pardon from President Trump, is running for the U.S. Senate.
Arpaio is seeking the Republican nomination for the seat being vacated by retiring Senator Jeff Flake.
The 85-year-old says “fresh blood" is needed in Washington and that he has not spoken to President Trump about his decision to run.
"I'm doing this for the people of Arizona and also I support President Trump. I did it right off the bat, July of 2015, so I will work hard to help him on his agenda and his policies."
Arpaio was a tough-on-crime Maricopa County sheriff known for targeting suspected undocumented immigrants before being voted out of office in 2016.
“That’s a mess and the voters better not put him into office. Are you serious right now? He needs to be in jail,” said one Yuma County supporter who wanted to remain anonymous.
He was found guilty of contempt last year by a federal judge for violating a court order to halt immigration-related arrests.
But President Trump issued Arpaio a pardon just days later.
“Joe Arpaio has a track record of doing things that are effective and a little bit of unconventional, and that’s what we need effective and a little bit unconventional sometimes. That’s just the way it’s got to be,” said supporter Tim McMann.
Arpaio is expected to be one of at least three candidates for the Arizona GOP nomination.
On the Democratic side, U.S Rep. Krysten Sinema is running for the seat. On the Republican side, Arpaio will be running for the nomination against State Rep. Martha McSally and former state Senator Kelli Ward.
The primary will be in August with the midterm election scheduled for Nov. 6th.