Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio are scheduled to meet Wednesday as she and other Republican presidential candidates court the self-proclaimed toughest sheriff in America for an endorsement.
Bachmann was in Arizona for fundraisers for her campaign for the Republican nomination for president. The afternoon meeting in Phoenix with Arpaio, a fellow Republican, was arranged on short notice, according to Bachmann spokeswoman Alice Stewart.
The meeting “is to have an initial introduction and a conversation about immigration and crime,” Stewart said.
Arpaio campaign manager Chad Willems said Bachmann has called Arpaio several times and that Arpaio has also received recent calls from Mitt Romney and Rick Perry.
“They’re all calling him,” Willems said, adding that Arpaio will take his time on deciding on making an endorsement. “They’re all in a hurry of course.”
The sheriff endorsed Romney over home-state candidate John McCain in the 2008 primary race. McCain won the state’s 2008 primary, with Romney placing second.
Arpaio, a proven favorite of voters in the county that includes Phoenix, is well-known for his office’s crackdown on illegal immigration, which has included conducting numerous raids on workplaces.
However, unrelated failed investigations conducted by Arpaio’s office that targeted county officials and judges are being put under a microscope in an attorney-discipline hearing against a former prosecutor who brought the cases to court.
The sheriff wouldn’t face any punishments if former County Attorney Andrew Thomas is found to have violated ethical rules, but the hearing could provide the first official comment from the state’s legal establishment on whether their investigations were trumped up.