Joe Arapaio John Eastman

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, left, and John Eastman, right, a former lawyer for former President Donald Trump, endorsed Colorado congressional candidate Laurel Imer, a Republican running in the open 7th Congressional District, on Thursday, April 7, 2022.

The controversial former Arizona sheriff pardoned by former President Donald Trump and a one-time top Trump legal advisor are getting behind Republican Laurel Imer, a primary candidate running in Colorado's open 7th Congressional District.

Imer said on Thursday that she's been endorsed by Joe Arpaio, who served as Maricopa County's sheriff for 24 years, and John Eastman, the author of numerous memos and emails tied to Trump's attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election while he was a visiting scholar conservative thought at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

The announcement came hours before today's Republican district assembly in Colorado Springs, where Imer, former oil and gas executive Erik Aadland and activist activist Michael J. Famolare are competing for delegate votes. Candidates need support from at least 30% of the delegates to win a spot on the June primary ballot.

Earlier this week, state Sen. Brittany Pettersen, a Lakewood Democrat, won her party's nomination to run for the seat.

Six Republicans are vying for the nomination in the battleground 7th CD, which has been represented since 2007 by Democratic U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, who announced his retirement in January.

The district, which has been targeted this year by both national parties, covers Jefferson County, Broomfield and six mountain counties extending south past Cañon City.

Economist Tim Reichert has already qualified for the GOP's primary in the district by petition, while two other hopefuls — construction company owner Carl Andersen and attorney Brad Dempsey — are awaiting word from the Colorado Secretary of State's Office whether petitions they submitted last month contain enough valid signatures.

“I had the pleasure of meeting Laurel Imer at the inauguration of President Donald Trump in 2017 and have known to count on her as a friend and ally who stands to protect America’s borders," Arpaio said in a statement released by Imer's campaign.

"She’s someone I can count on to kick down the door with me to fight for America First," he added.

Arpaio lost his bid for reelection in 2016, capping a career marked by hard-line anti-immigration policies and legal judgments that cost the county millions of dollars. Trump pardoned him the next year before Arpaio was sentenced on criminal contempt charges.

Eastman said in a statement that Imer has his "enthusiastic endorsement."

"She’s rock solid on the issues, and also understands that election integrity is key to having a government under the control of we, the sovereign people of the United States," he said.

Eastman is representing a group of Colorado Republicans — including Imer — who are suing to overturn voter-passed state constitutional amendments that allow unaffiliated voters to cast ballots in the state's Republican and Democratic primary elections.

Earlier this week, the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol obtained more than 100 emails Eastman had sought to protect under attorney-client privilege after a federal judge ruled they could be evidence of criminal activity.

Imer said in separate statements that she was "humbled" to receive Arpaio's endorsement and called it an honor to be endorsed and represented by Eastman.

Describing Arpaio's support, Imer said: "He is an icon in the battle to save America. One of our first freedom fighters protecting our citizens from disastrous open border policies. I am honored to stand with him to defend America’s southern border and continue to protect American citizens and defend their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Eastman, she said, "is not only a phenomenal attorney, but I have come to call him a friend. It is an honor to be endorsed by such a fighter for election integrity and the battle to stop the steal in 2020."

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