Arizona Governor Steven Seagal – sound a bit far-fetched?
Not according to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He says not only could the action-movie hero soon be Arizona's governor, he could just be the next Ronald Reagan.
The only possible stumbling block, says Sheriff Arpaio, is if he himself decides to run for governor.
Seagal first mentioned a prospective bid for Arizona's top job during an interview with ABC15 while promoting his new reality series, "Steven Seagal : Lawman - Maricopa County."
"Sheriff Joe Arpaio and I were talking about me running for governor of Arizona, which is kind of joke," Seagal said, "But I suppose I would remotely consider it, but I would have a lot of other responsibilities that may be more important to address."
Shortly after the story aired, news of Seagal's statement spread like wildfire. It was not only mentioned by news outlets across the globe, it also became fodder for late night comedians.
Arpaio, however, said Seagal's candidacy is ultimately no laughing matter.
"I really don't think it was a joke,"' Arpaio said in an interview this week with ABC15. "He's a patriot. He loves his country and some things he doesn't like he wants to correct. The immigration issue is a big issue with him. It's a big issue with me. So we have lots of things in common."
Something else the two have in common is a professed love of law enforcement. Seagal is a member of Arpaio's posse, providing training in marksmanship and martial arts. His exploits are the basis of Seagal's new reality series, and while Arpaio is proud of the association, he acknowledges the actor's presence is a source of controversy within the ranks of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
"You've got to balance this situation out with some of my regular deputies," Arpaio said. According to the Sheriff, some deputies feel posse volunteers aren't the "real thing."
"Well, the posse's the real thing too," he said.
But just how real is Seagal's bid for public office? Could he actually end up in the governor's office?
According to Arpaio, Seagal could be the next Ronald Reagan.
"I don't think he'd have any problem winning the Republican primary. Wasn't Reagan an actor? C'mon. Ventura, wasn't he? So what's unusual for someone from Hollywood running for governor or even president? Maybe we need someone fresh that's not afraid to tell it like it is. He will not be a typical politician. I'll tell you right now, that's not his style. I guarantee you he would shake everything up if he became governor."
When asked if he would formally endorse Seagal, Arpaio offered a provocative response.
"No, I'm staying out of the race," Arpaio said. "Just because there's a possibility that I may run. So I can't be endorsing anyone. I've had no problem raising money this year. I've raised something like $3 million in one year. I think people know that money is no issue with me no matter what I run for. So when you take those two equations, there's always the possibility that the sheriff could run, because there's no tomorrow, as far as I'm concerned. I didn't say I'm running. Let's get that straight, but in my mind, and it's been on my mind every four years, this is the last hurrah, because I want to stay eight years if I run for governor."
"It's not that age matters that much," said the 81-year-old Arpaio, smiling. "Because I can get a wheelchair, like Ironside and Raymond Burr, and put a machine gun on it. I'm not worried about that."
Seagal and Arpaio have until May 28 to formally declare their candidacy.