Stop us if you've heard this one before, but Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio -- at 79 years old -- claims to be mulling over a run for the Senate seat getting vacated by retiring Senator Jon Kyl.
Anyone who knows anything about America's self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff" knows he'll do whatever it takes to manipulate headlines -- including claiming to be considering running for political offices he has no real intention of actually running for.
Coming off a brutal week in the PR department (a DOJ report claiming the Sheriff's Office is on the hook for the worst racial profiling practices in U.S. history, which came just on the heels of the rehashing of hundreds of sex-crime investigations the MCSO bungled in a two-year period, for example), now seems an opportune time for Arpaio to pretend to be running for Senate...again.
In an interview with the Arizona Republic's E.J. Montini, when asked whether he planned on resigning, the sheriff said that not only will he never resign, but that "I'm still interested in the (U.S.) Senate race. If I don't run for Senate I am definitely running for sheriff. Let the people decide."
Arpaio, however, has a bit of a history when it comes to pretending to be running for higher office.
For example, in April of 2010, Arpaio claimed he was seriously considering running for governor. ABC15's Josh Bernstein even claimed he had the inside scoop that Arpaio had filed all the necessary paperwork for a run for the governorship and he was going to announce his candidacy. Bernstein quoted "several high-ranking sources within the Sheriff's Department."
Bernstein even had us convinced (to the point that we still owe a colleague lunch after losing a bet over whether Arpaio would run).
As our co-worker predicted, Arpaio didn't run, claiming that "so many have supported my campaign for re-election that I do not want to betray them by running for another office."
However, as Tequila Party President DeeDee Blase points out, "[Arpaio] may use this as an excuse to step down as Sheriff...possibly opening door for [former Senate President Russell]Pearce to run for sheriff because Pearce is all butt hurt still from his Special Elections loss to Jerry Lewis (moderate Republican). We will find out what is up Arpaio's sleeve. Running for Senate...is something that will help him save face."
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We asked our readers the same question in September -- and were overwhelmingly told that claims of Arpaio's possible Senate candidacy is just another one of the sheriff's media stunts -- but we want to know what you think: is Arpaio really considering running for the Senate, or are his claims just to divert attention away from the loads of bad press he received last week?
Cast your vote below.