Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio running for mayor of Fountain Hills

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced Tuesday that he is running for mayor of Fountain Hills.

"It was an honor and privilege serving the people of Maricopa County as their Sheriff," Arpaio said in a news release on Oct. 5. "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."

Arpaio served as Maricopa County's sheriff for 24 years before he was voted out of office in 2016, when voters chose Paul Penzone as sheriff instead. He became something of a celebrity sheriff during his decades on the job. Fighting illegal immigration and drugs were his priorities, while Tent City (which has been closed down) and pink underwear became his personal stamp on crime.

Since his 2016 defeat, Arpaio ran in a number of political races, including the Republican Party primary for Arizona's Senate seat in 2018, where state figures show he came in third, behind Martha McSally and Kelli Ward. In 2020, he ran in the GOP primary for his old job as sheriff, ultimately losing to his former right-hand man, Jerry Sheridan.

Arpaio talked about his candidacy on Oct. 5.

"I can bring to Fountain Hills one thing: life experience. I worked all over the world, dealt with presidents, on and on. So I have life experience, and I think I have a little common sense," said Arpaio. "Why I continue? What do you want me to do? Go fishing? Go golfing? I don’t do anything. My hobby is work. I've done that my whole life. I’m not stopping now."

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio

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