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Arpaio keeping options open after Flake leaves Senate seat

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said Tuesday he was keeping his options open after U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake announced he would not seek re-election.

In an interview with the Washington Examiner, Arpaio said he had not yet made up his mind in regard to his political future.

“It’s still out there,” he told the paper. “I haven’t made a decision.”

Arpaio said he has met with Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon twice and expressed that he would do what Trump needs — even a possible run for office.

“My heart is with the president and anything he needs or want I will do, so we’ll have to see what his position is,” Arpaio told the Examiner. “It’s an open seat now.”

The former lawman said he would likely win the Senate seat, should he toss his hat into the ring.

“They don’t vote for me because I’m tall, dark and handsome,” he said. “They vote for me because they like me, that’s why everyone wants my endorsement.”

Arpaio did not give a timeframe for a potential decision to run, but pointed out that he was good at raising money. He also said he would work to defeat Democratic candidate U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.

“My main objective will to be to make sure [Arizona Democratic Rep. Kyrsten] Sinema will be defeated, she took some shots at me with the pardon,” Arpaio said on Tuesday. “Of course Flake, McCain and the speaker of the house also did. And I don’t forget those shots going after me or going after the president.”

Arpaio was convicted of misdemeanor contempt of court earlier this year, though he was later pardoned by Trump. The former lawman failed in a recent attempt to get all of the rulings against him thrown out in court.

Arpaio told the Examiner he has not decided if he would support Republican Dr. Kelli Ward in the Senate race should he decide not to run.

Flake will leave the Senate in early January 2019.

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