Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is reportedly seeking “America’s Toughest Sheriff” Joe Arpaio’s endorsement for president, the Texas Tribune reported.
Arpaio heads the police in Maricopa County, Arizona and is notoriously tough on immigration. Perry, a border state governor who in the past has expressed interest in guest worker programs for illegal Mexican immigrants, would benefit politically from association with Arpaio’s tougher stance.
Arpaio made it clear that Perry was courting his support, but stopped short of making an endorsement.
“I kind of like the guy,” he said. “I think we need someone that will speak out and be tough, tell it like it is and be kind of a regular guy.”
A Perry spokeswoman positioned the Texas governor as reformed on immigration.
“The governor is strongly opposed to amnesty since it rewards illegal behavior and penalizes legal immigrants seeking citizenship,” she said. “Gov. Perry believes the border must be secure before America considers immigration reform.”
In 2000, Arpaio endorsed George W. Bush. In 2008, he gave the nod to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who may earn it again — Arpaio said that he doesn’t give his endorsement unless asked, and Perry hasn’t asked.
Arpaio said Romney is scheduled to call the sheriff on Tuesday.
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