Former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio says he's "seriously" considering a run for U.S. Senate in 2018, throwing cold water on rumors the outspoken lawman who was pardoned by President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump announces new social media network called 'TRUTH Social' Virginia State Police investigating death threat against McAuliffe Meadows hires former deputy AG to represent him in Jan. 6 probe: report MORE earlier this year will run for Rep. Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksOn The Trail: Arizona is microcosm of battle for the GOP Arizona New Members 2019 Cook shifts 8 House races toward Dems MORE (R-Ariz.)'s seat.
Arpaio told The Daily Beast on Thursday that he is actively looking at the possibility of running for the seat currently held by Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake donating unused campaign funds to Arizona nonprofit focused on elections: report Biden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report MORE (R-Ariz.), who is retiring in January.
“I am seriously, seriously, seriously considering running for the U.S. Senate,” Arpaio said, “not the congressman’s seat.”
Arpaio's comments followed Franks's announcement Thursday that he would resign his House seat after the House Ethics Committee said it would investigate his comments about surrogacy with female staffers.
"Due to my familiarity and experience with the process of surrogacy, I clearly became insensitive as to how the discussion of such an intensely personal topic might affect others," Franks said in a statement Wednesday. "I deeply regret that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress.”
In the interview Thursday, Arpaio called Franks's resignation a "great loss" for the state of Arizona.
“He is a great man, and a great friend, and it’s a great loss for Arizona and our country," Arpaio said, before again dismissing the possibility of running for Franks's seat. Arpaio noted in the interview that he does not reside within Franks's 8th District.
“No, I would not consider it, but I am considering running for the Senate, Flake’s seat,” Arpaio said. “I feel like I just gave you a little scoop there.”
Trump pardoned Arpaio earlier this year after the former sheriff was convicted of contempt of court for refusing to stop racially profiling Hispanics at traffic stops for the purpose of immigration checks.
“Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now 85 years old, and after more than 50 years of admirable service to our nation, he is a worthy candidate for a presidential pardon,” the White House said at the time.