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Joe Arpaio, controversial sheriff pardoned by Trump, running for senate

By Eric Bradner, CNN

(CNN) -- Joe Arpaio, the Republican former Maricopa County sheriff known for his hard-line immigration tactics, says he's running for Senate.

"I have a lot to offer. I'm a big supporter of President Trump," Arpaio told the Washington Examiner in an interview kicking off his campaign. "I'm going to have to work hard; you don't take anything for granted. But I would not being doing this if I thought that I could not win. I'm not here to get my name in the paper, I get that every day, anyway."

Arpaio was defeated in the 2016 election after 24 years in office as sheriff. He was convicted last year of criminal contempt for defying a court order to stop racially profiling Latinos but was pardoned by President Donald Trump, whose presidential campaign Arpaio had supported, in August before serving any jail time.

Sets up primary fight

GOP Sen. Jeff Flake is retiring, setting up a fight among top Arizona Republicans for the nomination.

National Republicans appear poised to land their top recruit for the seat: Rep. Martha McSally is set to holds events Friday in Tucson, Phoenix and Prescott where she'll make what's being billed as a "special announcement."

Arpaio and McSally would join Kelli Ward, the conservative state senator who drew 40% of the vote in the 2016 primary against Sen. John McCain, in the race.

Ward is supported by a super PAC funded by the GOP megadonor Mercer family. She was also backed by Steve Bannon -- though Ward distanced herself from the former White House chief strategist after Bannon's comments in a new book drew condemnation from Trump.

The Democratic candidate in a race that represents one of the party's best pick-up opportunities on the 2018 midterm map is Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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