PHOENIX - The sheriff for metropolitan Phoenix says he won't enter the Arizona governor's race, marking the fifth time since 1998 that he has flirted with -- and ultimately decided against -- seeking the state's highest elected office.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio says in a statement Thursday that he can't in good conscience leave his current post and noted that he has several unspecified sensitive investigations in progress.
The 81-year-old Republican says he will seek a seventh term as sheriff in 2016. Arpaio is known for jailing inmates in canvass tents, dressing them in pink underwear and conducting immigration patrols.
If Arpaio had decided to run for governor, Arizona law would have required him to resign immediately because he isn't in the final year of his current term as sheriff.
The sheriff referred to a possible run for governor in a fundraising appeal in March.
After Arpaio won a sixth term in 2012, his critics mounted an unsuccessful effort to force a recall election against the sheriff. In the end, recall organizers said they didn't collect enough voter signatures to bring the lawman to the ballot again.
His latest campaign finance report says the sheriff's election committee currently has $1.4 million in contributions on hand.