Arpaio endorses Ducey in Arizona governor's race

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Sheriff Joe Arpaio By Christina O'Haver Sheriff Joe Arpaio By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX (AP) -- Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has endorsed Doug Ducey over five other Republicans who are seeking the GOP nomination in the Arizona gubernatorial race.

The sheriff said Friday that he picked Ducey because of his business experience, work as the state's treasurer and because his father worked as a police officer.

Arpaio says the six Republicans in the governor's race sought his backing.

Candidates regularly seek Arpaio's endorsement because the lawman's nod is seen as adding credibility when it comes to border issues. Arpaio is known for his crackdowns on illegal immigration and several GOP presidential candidates sought his backing in 2012.

Ducey faces former Internet executive Christine Jones, former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, Secretary of State Ken Bennett, former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas and former California Rep. Frank Riggs in the Aug. 26 primary.

The Republican primary winner will face Democrat Fred DuVal in the November general election.

The Jones campaign had released a video in June that wished Arpaio a happy birthday and lauded his law enforcement efforts. Jones has been endorsed by Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu.

During Arizona's 2002 governor's race, Arpaio angered Republicans by speaking up on behalf of then-Democratic candidate Janet Napolitano when an opponent accused her of being soft on crime. The Republican sheriff insists that his comments never constituted an endorsement.

In May, Arpaio announced that he wouldn't enter the governor's race. That marked the fifth time since 1998 that he has flirted with - and ultimately decided against - seeking the state's highest office.

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