PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio plans to endorse Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the coming days and campaign with the GOP presidential hopeful in New Hampshire, the leader of Arpaio's re-election committee said Monday.
Perry, Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann have all sought the endorsement of the self-proclaimed toughest sheriff in America, but the 79-year-old lawman had held off on picking a candidate.
Chad Willems, who runs Arpaio's re-election committee and political action committee, confirmed that the sheriff has decided on Perry. The planned endorsement was first reported by ABC and NBC.
The five-term sheriff set up a political action committee in September to raise money for federal candidates who share his views on immigration enforcement and other issues. Arpaio's re-election campaign said it has raised $6 million. His get-tough views on immigration could prove useful to Perry, who has drawn criticism from some Republicans over a Texas policy allowing the children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state college tuition rates and his characterization of those who oppose such education benefits as "heartless."
Arpaio endorsed Romney over Sen. John McCain in Arizona's 2008 Republican presidential primary.