Joe Arpaio announces 2022 run for mayor of Phoenix suburb

Oct 5, 2021, 10:43 AM | Updated: 11:12 am
Joe Arpaio in 2018. (File Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)...
Joe Arpaio in 2018. (File Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
(File Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio will be 90 by the time votes are cast, but on Tuesday he announced a 2022 run for mayor of Fountain Hills.

Arpaio has lived in the town about 30 miles northeast of downtown Phoenix for more than 20 years.

“I want to directly give something back to my hometown of Fountain Hills, Arizona, which I love, utilizing my life experience and common sense to make Fountain Hills a better place to live,” he said in a press release.

Next year’s Fountain Hills primary election is set for Aug. 4, less than two months after Arpaio’s 90th birthday. A general election will follow in November if no primary candidate wins a majority. Mayor Ginny Dickey’s current term runs through the end of 2022.

After 24 years as sheriff in Arizona’s largest county, the influential but polarizing Republican has had a tough stretch electorally.

In 2016, Arpaio’s six-term run was snapped in a loss by more than 10 percentage points to Democrat Paul Penzone.

Arpaio then finished a distant third in the 2018 GOP primary for U.S. Senate won by incumbent Martha McSally.

He took aim at a return to the top of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in 2020 but finished second in the Republican primary.

As metro Phoenix’s sheriff from 1992 through 2016, Arpaio was known for a tough-on-crime approach that included forcing jail inmates to wear pink underwear and housing them in tents in triple-digit heat.

He also targeted illegal immigration and was convicted of criminal contempt for disobeying a court order to stop his immigration patrols. His misdemeanor conviction was later pardoned by then-President Donald Trump.

While his defiant streak played well with voters for many years, Arpaio faced heavy criticism for taking on policies that he knew were controversial and racking up taxpayer-funded legal bills that are expected to reach more than $200 million.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Joe Arpaio announces 2022 run for mayor of Phoenix suburb