Then-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks in support of Donald Trump during a campaign rally on Aug. 31, 2016, in Phoenix. (Ralph Freso / Getty Images)
By Randy DeSoto October 5, 2021 at 4:55pm
Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Tuesday announced plans to run for mayor of Fountain Hills, Arizona.
Arpaio, 89, said in a news release that he and his late wife moved to the Phoenix suburb over 20 years ago.
The former lawman said he wants to continue his 56 years of public service by “serving in the community he knows best.”
“Among his priorities as Mayor, Arpaio will focus on attracting new businesses to the city to create jobs and economic growth and continue his fight against illegal immigration, human smuggling, and drug trafficking. Also, reducing taxes and regulation and increasing tourism,” the news release said.
“It was an honor and privilege serving the people of Maricopa County as their Sheriff,” Arpaio said. “Now, I want to directly give something back to my hometown of Fountain Hills, Arizona, which I love, utilizing my life experience and commonsense to make Fountain Hills a better place to live.”
Continuing my 56 year’s in public service now as Mayor. pic.twitter.com/4AlGil4qUj
— Sheriff Joe Arpaio (@RealSheriffJoe) October 5, 2021
Known as “America’s toughest sheriff,” Arpaio held the top law enforcement position in Maricopa County from 1993 to 2017. Maricopa encompasses the Phoenix metropolitan area, including Fountain Hills.
He lost his re-election bid in 2016 to Democrat Paul Penzone after federal prosecutors filed a misdemeanor contempt of court charge against him just days before early voting began.
The complaint alleged the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department was violating a court order regarding its handling of illegal immigrants.
Do you think Joe Arpaio would make a good mayor?
“Certainly, the timing was no accident, as Judge [G. Murray] Snow could have made this same erroneous criminal referral months — even years — prior,” Arpaio told The Western Journal in a March interview.
By choosing to file a misdemeanor charge, prosecutors circumvented the need for a jury trial, and District Judge Susan Bolton specifically denied Arpaio one. She proceeded to convict him in July 2017.
Then-President Donald Trump pardoned Arpaio the following month.
Thank you @realdonaldtrump for seeing my conviction for what it is: a political witch hunt by holdovers in the Obama justice department!
— Sheriff Joe Arpaio (@RealSheriffJoe) August 26, 2017
Arpaio ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2018 and for Maricopa County sheriff in 2020.
He was among the first prominent Arizona officeholders to endorse Trump’s 2016 presidential bid and introduced him at a rally in Fountain Hills in the spring of that year.
Arpaio, a Massachusetts native, began his career in law enforcement as a military policeman in the U.S. Army.
He went on to serve on the police departments in Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas before becoming an agent with the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.
Arpaio stayed on with what became the Drug Enforcement Administration for 25 years, serving overseas in multiple locations and eventually overseeing DEA operations in Arizona.
The mayor of Fountain Hills serves a two-year term. The current mayor is Ginny Dickey, who was first elected in 2018 and whose current term ends in 2022.
According to the Arizona Republic, she plans to run for re-election.