Sheriff Joe Arpaio met privately with Rick Santorum on Tuesday.

"I just met Sen. Santorum for about 20 minutes in private, had a nice talk. One of the things that impressed me with him is that he goes to the grass roots, goes to the people," Arpaio said at the Maricopa County Republican Party Lincoln Day Lunch and Straw Poll. 

Arpaio reportedly said after his speech that he plans to endorse again after the February 28 Arizona primary.

Arpaio went on to praise Santorum as well as the rest of the GOP field, saying the candidates were strong.

Arpaio previously endorsed Rick Perry for president. An endorsement by Arpaio would likely help Santorum shore up the conservative vote in Arizona. The former Pennsylvania senator has worked to angle himself to the right of most of the GOP field and highlight his credentials not just as a fiscal but also as a social conservative.

A recent Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey of Arizona found Santorum and Mitt Romney in a virtual dead heat. The poll found Romney just barely leading, with 36 percent to Santorum's 33. A separate poll also by PPP found that 32 percent of likely GOP Arizona voters would vote for whichever candidate Arpaio endorsed.

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—This story was updated at 6:35 p.m.