No one ever considered a potential Democratic Senate pick-up in the deep red state of Alabama — that is, until the Alabama GOP gave its party nomination to former judge and fringe right-wing candidate Roy Moore. Now, it’s possible that the left could see another big win in a red state with the announcement that Sheriff Joe Arpaio hopes to replace Republican Senator Jeff Flake.
Sheriff Joe, best known for his abuse of prisoners in his Maricopa County jails, his birther conspiracy theories and his rabid, rabid anti-immigration stance, stated on Tuesday that he will run in the GOP primary to replace Flake, who is not running for re-election.
“I have a lot to offer. I’m a big supporter of President Trump,” Arpaio told the Washington Examiner. “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 everyday, anyway.”
Arpaio’s announcement is likely to have the biggest impact on Kelli Ward, another Tea Party GOP extremist planning to run for the party nomination. But it will also ripple out to Republican Congresswoman Martha McSally, who the party viewed as the most favorable general election candidate for the ticket.
Arpaio complicates the lessons the Republicans may have learned in Alabama about choosing a fringe nominee over a more “moderate” opponent, too. While President Trump expressed support for the more traditional candidate, Senator Luther Strange — an endorsement that still couldn’t help Strange win the primary — Trump will be hard pressed not to back Arpaio, who the president pardoned for ignoring a federal court order forbidding him from racial profiling Arizona residents.
For the GOP, a candidate who trumpets his relationship with Trump as a key facet of his campaign could cause massive damage to whichever candidate emerges from the primary as the winner — even if that winner is McSally.
“Even if Arpaio loses the primary…