By Michael Muskal, Los Angeles Times –
LOS ANGELES — Joe Arpaio, criticized by the U.S. Department of Justice for what it called discrimination against Latinos, said Thursday that he would seek a sixth term as sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona.
Arpaio, who has built a national reputation in conservative circles for his hard-line attitude to illegal immigration, announced his intention to run for re-election in news releases sent to local media.
“It is an honor and a privilege to serve as sheriff of Maricopa County. I am running for a sixth term and will continue to protect the citizens of Maricopa County by enforcing all the laws,” Arpaio said in the statement.
The sheriff also announced his plans Thursday afternoon in an appearance on Fox News. Arpaio has often appeared on the network discussing immigration issues.
“For all those critics that demonstrate in front of my office for three years, calling me every name in the book, I’m going to announce right now on your show, on your show, that I’m running again for sheriff, for my sixth four-year term,” Arpaio said. “So maybe they’re going to have a bad day, all these critics against me.”
Last month, the Justice Department announced the results of a three-year probe of Arpaio’s department, charging that it had engaged in a wide range of civil rights violations, including mistreatment of Latinos and racial profiling.
Arpaio, a Republican, has rejected calls to resign and has denied the charges. He has called on the federal government to provide evidence of its findings.
His re-election bid had been widely expected.
Arpaio is likely to face Mike Stauffer, a 20-year veteran of the Scottsdale Police Department who announced in October that he would run against Arpaio as an independent.