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Joe Arpaio may be setting sights on Jeff Flake’s US Senate seat

(Twitter Photo)

PHOENIX — Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said he was “seriously, seriously, seriously” considering a run for U.S. Senate.

Online media outlet the Daily Beast reported Thursday that Arpaio made the comment after learning U.S. Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) had resigned, effective Jan. 31.

Franks announced his resignation hours earlier, after learning the House Ethics Committee had voted to pursue inquiry into possible sexual misconduct when he told two women in his office he was interested in finding a surrogate mother.

“No, I would not consider [running for Frank’s seat], but I am considering running for the Senate, Flake’s seat,” Arpaio said in the interview.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) announced he was stepping away from politics in late October. He has been in office since 2013 and broke the news on the Senate floor.

Flake’s term ends in January 2019. The chase for his midterm seat has been rugged. His outspoken criticism of President Donald Trump has led to Twitter insults and a concerted effort from the White House to find a suitable primary challenger next year for Flake’s seat.

Arpaio, 85, has been a longtime supporter of the president. Trump pardoned the controversial former lawman, who was convicted of criminal contempt, in August.

That was around the same time Arpaio told the Washington Examiner, “I’m sure getting a lot of people around the state asking me” to challenge Flake.

A federal judge followed up the pardon by dismissing the case that had pulled Arpaio into court for defying a government order to halt his racial profiling of Latinos.

Arpaio was back in court this week, facing one of Flake’s sons in a malicious-prosecution case. Austin Flake has said the ex-sheriff pursed animal-cruelty charges against him and his former wife to get back at his father.

Nearly two dozen dogs died of heat exhaustion at a pet care facility that the younger Flake and Logan Brown were watching over for his in-laws.

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