PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne will find out Tuesday if voters think three years fighting off allegations of campaign-finance violations and other negative news outweighs what he argues is a solid record of accomplishments as the state's top law enforcement official.
Horne is facing a tough challenge from former state gaming department director and prosecutor Mark Brnovich in the Republican primary. Whoever wins will take on Democrat Felecia Rotellini, who is running unopposed, in November.
Horne's legal problems have cost him support among the GOP establishment, with prominent politicians like Gov. Jan Brewer and former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl endorsing Brnovich over the incumbent and figures like Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery calling on him to resign.
But Horne says voters should look past what he says are unfounded complaints against him and look at his record.
"I think the voters are interested in the actual achievements," Horne said in an interview last week. "I personally argued two Supreme Court cases, one of which established our right to require evidence of citizenship to vote, the other of which limited federal interference in state courts enforcing our criminal laws."
He also pointed to a bank settlement over foreclosures that brought in $2 billion that bolstered state coffers and helped keep people in their homes, and his work expanding consumer protections and creating a child sex-trafficking task force.
Brnovich and his supporters say Horne's record in office is tainted by allegations of campaign-finance violations that stem from his 2010 election campaign and a new case from his re-election effort. He argued Horne's record isn't that stellar, even if one discounts personal legal troubles that have kept him in the news as a defendant rather than a prosecutor.
"I think there are some things that Tom may have done that maybe you tipped your hat to, but at the end of day, he's been MIA on so many issues," Brnovich said earlier this month. "And I don't know if that's because he has been distracted by his legal and ethical problems, because he seems to spend more time these days in a courtroom with his personal defense attorney versus prosecuting and protecting Arizonans."
Brnovich cites Horne's failure to fight federal mandates such as new clear air rules for coal-fired power plants that could harm the state's power supply, new clean water act rules and endangered species regulations.
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