I’m not sure that getting the endorsement of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is the way to launch a broad, national political career — he is an anathema to Hispanics, particularly the non-Cuban Hispanics who are so numerous in central Florida. But hey, this is the tea party, and their “conservative comeback” in the Orlando area is being led by Tom Tancredo and Rep. Steve King, so Arpaio fits the bill. From the in-box yesterday:
SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO ENDORSES TODD LONG
America’s Sheriff Sees Fighter, Leader in Long
Orlando—Today, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, offered his endorsement to Todd Long in his bid to replace Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL). Sheriff Arpaio is a nationally recognized leader in the immigration enforcement movement and has been fighting to secure our borders his entire career. Arpaio recently appeared at a rally in Phoenix to support Arizona and their new immigration law which was held by Long and local Tea Party activists.
“I am proud to offer my endorsement to Todd Long in his run for Congress. Todd is going to go to Washington and lead the fight against amnesty and to secure our borders,” said Arpaio. “With Todd fighting in Congress, we will have a better chance of reversing course and saving our Republic.”
Long said, “I admire Sheriff Joe so much because he gets things done and fights the courageous fight to keep Americans safe every single day. We know that President Obama is going to jam amnesty down our throats after this 2010 election. Our message is clear: The party is over!”
“I am the only candidate in this race fighting against amnesty and illegal immigration because I know how devastating it has been to our nation. I know that if we do not prevail on this issue, we will lose on all our other issues as well and become a bankrupt, government-dependent nation with a very low standard of living for its citizens. We will not be fooled any longer by these Republican candidates who are funded by big business, like illegal immigration and want cheap, illegal labor. The Conservative Comeback’s time has come!”
Shouldn’t that have read “white, red state America’s sheriff?” ‘Cause I don’t think Sheriff Joe digs the brown people and I don’t think non-white Americans consider him to be their sheriff anymore than black people consider Rudy Giuliani to be “America’s mayor,” if you know what I mean …
Anyway, will Arpaio help Todd Long beat Alan Grayson? Well first, he has to survive a seven-way primary on August 24. Long narrowly lost a primary to the previous incumbent, Ric Keller, so history is not quite on his side so far. (By the way, the seat was gerrymandered in 2001 and won by a guy named Bill McCollum. Before that, the previous incarnation of the seat flip-flopped between Ds and Rs.) And the district (Congressional District 8, which includes Orlando…) is 69 percent white, 7 percent black and nearly 18 percent Hispanic — a higher percentage of Hispanics than the state as a whole. And Hispanics in Central Florida tend to be non-Cuban, meaning they lean Democratic, like Hispanics in the rest of the country (many are Puerto Rican.) So having the xenophobe triumvirate of King, Arpaio and Tancredo on his team won’t help Long expand his base. Grayson won the seat handily in 2008, with 52 percent of the vote, though the political climate was a lot different then (there was no tea party, for instance, even though President Bush had just bailed out Wall Street. Funny thing, that…)
Long is running on a pretty standard tea party platform: the “fair tax,” repealing “Obamacare,” and building a border fence … thousands of miles from Florida … (ahem) … English only and something about “anchor babies.” He does appear to have brought one tea party member, Phil Russo, off the protest field and onto his campaign. Awaiting word from Russo whether his new email address is an indication he’s gone from sign waver to hired gun.