Arpaio pardon could be factor in 2018 GOP primary

Tuesday, August 29, 2017
| Chad Groening (

An immigration enforcement activist believes Republican criticism of President Trump's pardoning of Joe Arpaio could actually help the primary campaign of a GOP senatorial candidate in Arizona.

When the Trump administration announced late Friday the pardon of the former sheriff of Maricopa County, harsh criticism was heard from Democrats, advocates of illegal immigration – and Senator John McCain (R-Arizona).
The Arizona senator, who has often clashed with both Arpaio and Trump, released a statement accusing the president of undercutting his own proclamations of law and order. He also wrote: "Mr. Arpaio has shown no remorse for his actions."
William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, has been a huge supporter of the sheriff – as well as a staunch critic of McCain and other Republicans who favor open borders.

"Speaking out against the pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio is going to hurt them, especially since this all seems to leading to more of a national coalition of support around Dr. Kelli Ward's GOP primary challenge to Senator Jeff Flake," says Gheen.

During a visit to Arizona last week, President Trump was critical of both McCain and Flake – but did so without mentioning them by name. Arpaio's pardon came after the president's visit.
"The last few days this has been happening – with Trump going to Phoenix and [then] pardoning Sheriff Arpaio and McCain and Flake attacking that move – this has brought a lot more attention to Dr. Kelli Ward's campaign, and we're very happy to see that. We're [also] happy to see Joe pardoned."
So was Ward (pictured above), who stated: "We applaud the president for exercising his pardon authority to counter the assault on Sheriff Arpaio's heroic efforts to enforce the nation's immigration laws."
Some news outlets have alluded to the possibility of Arpaio running for the U.S. Senate himself. But Gheen is hopeful Trump creates a position for Arpaio in the administration where he can have an impact on curbing illegal immigration.