POLITICS
09/09/2010 10:34 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio Won't Rule Out 2012 White House Run

Controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio isn't ruling out a run for the White House in 2012, CNN reports.

The Maricopa County official -- whose claim to fame has stemmed from crusading against illegal immigration in the wake of Gov. Jan Brewer (R) signing a controversial measure to tackle the matter -- is even heading to the key primary battleground state of New Hampshire next week.

According to Chad Willems, a political advisor to Arpaio, his boss "enjoys being sheriff, but he has been asked by and urged by so many people" to mount a presidential pursuit. He told CNN that "thousands of people call and write or email him each week saying 'Run for president, run for president.'"

As for the upcoming New Hampshire trip, Willems told the network that Arpaio is "not going back to test the waters," but then admitted, "People just don't go to New Hampshire if they are not interested in these things."

Statements made in the past by Arpaio suggest he sees himself carrying significant political clout.

Earlier this year, in squashing speculation that he might run for Governor in the Grand Canyon State, the Arizona sheriff said, "I don't want to be egotistical, but I could be the governor if I ran... My polls are very high. I got the money. I got the polls. I got the support." And, Apraio recently said that he considers his endorsement cred to be stronger than that of home state GOP Sen. John McCain.

Last month, the Arizona sheriff suggested President Obama consult his advice on the issue of illegal immigration.

"Why doesn't he call me to the White House and we'll have a little wine like he called the Cambridge police sergeant that arrested the professor," said Arpaio. "I'll be glad to talk and give him some advice of my 30-years in the federal government, but he won't call me, he's had the Justice Department investigating me."