Flake donates to Democratic sheriff being challenged by Arpaio in Arizona
© Greg Nash

Former Arizona Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeVulnerable senators hold the key to Trump's fate Trump's GOP impeachment firewall holds strong How to survive an impeachment MORE (R) announced Wednesday that he donated to Paul Penzone, the Democratic sheriff of Maricopa County who is facing a challenge from Joe Arpaio, the county's former sheriff. 

Flake tweeted a picture of a check he sent to Penzone’s campaign for $100, writing in the memo line, “County over Party.”

Flake has emerged as a chief GOP critic of the party's direction, decrying President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE’s rhetoric and admonishing congressional Republicans for their overwhelming support for the White House.

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He donated to Democrat Doug Jones in the 2017 Alabama Senate race after Republican Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreMontgomery, Ala., elects first African American mayor GOP Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville says Trump has 'put a noose' around farmers' necks with trade war Sen. Doug Jones launches reelection bid in Alabama MORE was hit with multiple allegations of sexual misconduct and assault by several women who said at the time of the incidents they in their teens and he was in his 30s. Jones went on to win the race.

Arpaio, who was sheriff of Maricopa County from 1993 to 2016, announced in August he would run for his old seat in 2020.

"The last four years have proven to be a time of lost opportunities to continue the kind of tough policing this county needs," Arpaio said in a statement. "Once back in office, I will use my position to restore pride to our law enforcement ranks, not only here, in the fourth-largest county in America, but across the country."

Arpaio sparked nationwide criticism for housing some of the prisoners under his supervision in outdoor “tent cities” and using so-called chain gangs during his time as sheriff.

He was also convicted on criminal contempt of a federal court after he refused to follow an order that he cease detaining people based on their immigration status, though Trump pardoned him in 2017.