Joe Arpaio Apologist Rick Perry Still Thinks "Toughest Sheriff" Will Help His Campaign

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's been in Iowa for the past few days to help his horse in the GOP presidential primary, Texas Governor Rick Perry, in his final push before state's January 3 caucuses.

Apparently, Perry still thinks the sheriff's support is a good thing -- despite Arpaio's recent (ahem) rough week.

Just this month, Arpaio's come under fire for hundreds of sex-crime investigations botched by his deputies. Then there's the Department of Justice's scathing report about the MCSO under Arpaio's leadership, which claims the sheriff is on the hook for the worst racial-profiling practices in U.S. history.  

And let's not forget about Marty Atencio, an assault suspect who died after getting repeatedly tased -- for no apparent reason, and while already in custody -- by the sheriff's detention officers.

Despite all that, Perry still considers Arpaio a "great American."

"The Justice Department's action smacks of politics, as do so many of the Obama Administration's misguided actions and excuses," Perry campaign spokesman Ray Sullivan wrote in an email to TPM. "Governor Perry knows Sheriff Arpaio as a dedicated law enforcement professional fighting to keep his neighbors safe in the wake of federal failures to secure the border and deal with border crime."

According to the most recent poll from Public Policy Polling, Perry's being a Joe Arpaio apologist has earned him a tie for fifth place in the GOP primary -- he's currently tied with Rick Santorum and "undecided."

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