PHOENIX (AP) — Attorney General Tom Horne was thrown out of office Tuesday in the Republican primary after a rocky first term that resulted in several misconduct investigations.
Horne lost the primary to the state's former top gambling regulator, Mark Brnovich, who pounced on the allegations against his incumbent rival.
In the November general election, Brnovich will face Democrat Felecia Rotellini, who ran unopposed.
"Taking on an incumbent is not easy," Brnovich said. "Sometimes doing the right thing is the hard thing."
Horne, who defeated Rotellini in 2010, has been dogged for three years by allegations of campaign finance violations, an FBI investigation and a hit-and-run where he pleaded no contest.
Horne has consistently denied the campaign finance accusations and said if he had known he damaged the other vehicle in a minor parking lot accident he would have left a note.
Brnovich and his backers asked voters to throw the state's top law enforcement officer out of office, saying Horne "created a culture of corruption within the attorney general's office."
Horne's legal problems have cost him support among the GOP establishment, with prominent politicians such as Gov. Jan Brewer and former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl endorsing Brnovich over the incumbent.
Brnovich also said Horne hadn't been vigorous enough in fighting 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. He said if elected he will aggressively fight federal government overreach and work to prosecute drug cartels and protect the unborn and elderly.
Brnovich said he likes his chances in the general election.
"She didn't beat Tom Horne last time, and I did this time," he said. "And I would put my resume up against anyone."