The Colorado Democratic Party quickly seized on freelance reporter Sandra Fish's tweet Thursday afternoon saying Tom Tancredo has a notable but not surprising new fundraiser, former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Arpaio shares the Colorado gubernatorial candidate's passion for strident immigration reform, which landed him with a criminal contempt of court conviction for his unyielding enforcement that was deemed to be profiling Latinos. President Trump pardoned Arpaio in August.
The 85-year-old Maricopa County sheriff of 24 years is viewed as a hero or villain in the nation's polarized debate on illegal immigration.
"Once again, the Republicans running for Governor are racing to the right to prove they're the most extreme right-wing candidate in the field," Eric Walker, the spokesman for the Colorado Democratic Party, said in a statement. "Anyone who associates with convicted criminal Joe Arpaio - much less uses him to raise money - is unfit to be the governor of our state. Period."
Tancredo, a former congressman in his third run for Colorado governor, supported Arpaio's pardon. They have been friends for years, and Arpaio has campaigned for him in Colorado before, Tancredo told Colorado Politics Thursday. He doesn't have any events planned with the sheriff, he said.
"He's a warrior, and I think he's paid the price for that," Tancredo said. "I think they went after him because of who he is not what he has done."
In a letter to Tancredo's supporters urging them to give, Arpaio wrote, "Tom needs our help to fight against the liberal elite and open borders crowd who are throwing everything they've got into defeating him, and the America First agenda."
Arpaio called Colorado "a state frighteningly soft on illegal aliens."