Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the icon of anti-immigration and tough-on-crime policies, has endorsed Republican presidential wannabe Texas Gov. Rick Perry, an advocate of Christian Dominionism.
Arpaio’s endorsement came on November 29, during a campaign swing with Perry in New Hampshire where Perry’s latest flubs occurred when he asked that all of the college students in the crowd who will be 21 by November 12 support his bid for the presidency. The voting age in the United States is 18. And the 2012 election will be held on November 6, 2012.
Arpaio said that while federal government has failed on border crime and enforcement, Perry led “border surge operations with state, local and federal law enforcement officials have helped shut down the illegal trafficking of weapons, drugs and people,” according to the Washington Times.
“I’m endorsing Rick Perry because we need a tough-on-crime president who will champion and fund full-time border security operations from Brownsville to San Diego,” the sheriff said. “Governor Perry has a superior border security record and plans to make our border and our nation safer.”
Arpaio’s blessing was highly sought after by Republican presidential candidate hopefuls. In an article called “Why Would Anyone Want Joe Arpaio’s Endorsement?” The Atlantic reported that Mitt Romney, Michelle Bachmann and Herman Cain all wooed the self-styled “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” who, according to Fox News, “famously re-instituted chain gangs in 1995 and has also been a major supporter of his state’s controversial SB 1070 immigration law.” Critics of SB 1070 call it a notorious anti-immigration law that targets and profiles Hispanics, American Indians and other people of color in Arizona.
In answering the question, The Atlantic listed a litany of Arpaio’s governing disasters, including litigation by the Justice Department over his alleged illegal withholding documents relating to a civil rights investigation; local investigations into fiscal mismanagement in his Maricopa County offices in one case over the alleged misspending of $99.5 million in public funds slated for inmates that were used to pay officials’ salaries, and earlier this month, the payment by Maricopa County of a $1 million settlement to the family of a man who died in Arpaio’s custody.
But Arpaio may be headed for a fall. A group called Citizens for a Better Arizona announced recently that they plan to form a “citizens posse” to challenge the Maricopa County sheriff in his 2012 re-election bid. Arpaio is currently serving his fifth four-year term.