GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry, who has been called “weak” by immigration enforcement supporters, has picked up the support of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, notorious for his immigration detention measures and his birther conspiracy theories.
According to multiple national news outlets, Arpaio will campaign with Perry in New Hampshire on Tuesday, where he will give the Texas governor a political tip of the cap.
Neither the Sheriff’s Office or Perry’s campaign responded to New Times‘ request for confirmation of the reported endorsement, and none of the news outlets reporting the political nod are naming names — ABC News cites “a source with knowledge of the endorsement” as the source of the information. CNN is equally vague, attributing its report to a source within the “governor’s campaign,” while NBC cites a “a source familiar with the matter.”
Arpaio was heckled as he spoke at “Choose Liberty,” a recent event organized by the Eastern Orlando Tea Party and Americans for Prosperity.
Numbers USA — an organization that supports “Attrition Through Enforcement” immigration policy and wants “lower immigration levels” — blamed Perry’s poor showing in the Florida straw poll on his weak stance on immigration enforcement.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has criticized Perry for supporting in state college tuition for undocumented students in Texas. The Federation for American Immigration Reform, which supports immigration enforcement measures like Arizona’s controversial S.B. 1070 has said “Perry cannot run on is his very questionable, liberal immigration record.”
The New Times adds that “Perry isn’t exactly the hawkish border bully we’d expect Arpaio to support — given some of the sheriff’s other options,” and “in a recent debate between GOP presidential candidates, Perry made what many consider to be a political misstep for a candidate hoping to woo Conservatives: he showed a little compassion.”