By David Cantanese | Miami Herald
As Donald Trump carried Arizona on his way to the White House four years ago, voters were simultaneously ushering another nationally renowned Republican with polarizing views on law enforcement and immigration out of office.
Now Joe Arpaio is back, mounting a campaign for his old job as sheriff of Maricopa County — the nation’s fourth-most populous county that could determine the outcome of the presidential election not just in Arizona, but nationally.
Republicans are warily eyeing the return of the 87-year-old Arpaio, who was pardoned by the president in 2017 for defying a court order and still calls Trump his “hero.” Democrats, meanwhile, view Arpaio’s crushing 13-point loss in 2016 as a harrowing omen for Trump this fall in a state that is quickly emerging as one of the most competitive 2020 battlegrounds.
And the possibility of Arpaio reappearing on the Republican ticket with Trump could further alienate the moderate suburban women and voters of color Democrats need to mobilize to win Arizona for the first time since 1996.
“For younger Latinos, it will make a difference,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego, a Democratic congressman from Phoenix who is Hispanic. “The voters that pushed out Joe Arpaio, those are going to be the ones who do the same thing to Donald Trump in Maricopa County.”While one top Arizona Republican dismissed Arpaio as a mere “hemorrhoid,” several Republicans in the state argued it would be foolish to think that he could hurt Trump from a down-ballot position.