On Tuesday, former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio announced he was running for Senate in Arizona. Arpaio was pardoned by President Trump in August after the hard-line anti-immigration former sheriff was convicted of criminal contempt for refusing to abide by a court order to stop racially profiling Latinos in the county during so-called immigration check points. On Wednesday, Arpaio during an interview with CNN on just his second day on the campaign trail dipped into his other bag of fringe-right tricks and—on day two—played the birther card, claiming the no-longer President Obama’s birth certificate is fake.
“We have the evidence. Nobody will talk about it. Nobody will look at it,” the Republican Senate candidate said of Obama’s birth certificate. “And anytime you want to come down, or anybody, we’ll be glad to show you the evidence. And by the way you’re going to hear more about this fake, phony birth certificate.” “So you believe that President Obama’s birth certificate is a phony? CNN host Chris Cuomo asked. “No doubt about it,” Arpaio answered. “I’m not going to go into all the details. It’s a phony document.”
That wasn’t Arpaio’s only media appearance where he made the false claim about Obama’s birth certificate. “I’m going to tell you again that that document is a forgery document,” Arpaio told WABC’s Rita Cosby. “And nobody will touch it.” But Arpaio wasn’t done. “I wanted to get it to Congress so they can pass some type of law—regulation—that when somebody runs for president you ought to check their background, so this won’t happen again,” he added during the radio interview. “But I can’t get anybody—anybody—to even look at it.” So now he’s running.
In the Arizona race to replace Sen. Jeff Flake, Arpaio is filling the Roy Moore role in the primary battle, costarring fellow populist candidate Kelli Ward, as he takes on GOP establishment-backed Rep. Martha McSally. A poll conducted on the day of his announcement shows Arpaio running neck-and-neck with McSally.
Don’t worry, the election’s only 10 months away.
Correction, Jan. 11, 2018: This post originally misidentified Arpaio as a former mayor. He is a former sheriff.