Fact Check: Tom Horne on challenger Mark Brnovich, immigration and his record

PHOENIX - With the primary elections right around the corner (Tuesday, August 26), the campaign ads are at a fevered pitch.

Two republicans are facing off in the race for the Attorney General: The embattled incumbent ,Tom Horne and challenger, Mark Brnovich.

In his latest campaign ad, Horne blasts his opponent for supporting “a leader of the open borders movement, an advocate of driver’s licenses to illegals and tax-payer funded tuition for illegals.”

That ‘leader’ refers to Pinal County Supervisor Pete Rios, a democrat. Brnovich donated $120 to the Rios campaign about a decade ago.

Back when he was a state senator, Rios introduced legislation to allow undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses. He also supported the Dream Act, which would allow for in-state tuition for undocumented students brought to the U.S. as children.

But, we should also mention, Horne was a registered Democrat earlier in life. His campaign pointed out, so was President Reagan.

Brnovich told ABC15 the claims in the ad are ludicrous.

“I made the donation in hoping to broaden the number of Democrats willing to work with Republicans on important issues, such as strengthening parental notification laws for minors seeking an abortion,” Brnovich said in an email statement.

Brnovich says he’s the only candidate in the race who’s spoken out in support of Gov. Jan Brewer’s ban on driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.

Here’s a little history about Tom Horne’s position on illegal immigration: As Attorney General, Horne fought for SB 1070 all the way to the Supreme Court with Gov. Brewer.

The Supreme Court ruled most of the law unconstitutional.

Now, Brewer is supporting Brnovich, who used to serve on her cabinet as Director of the Department of Gaming.

In the ad, Horne touts his immigration record, saying he is “standing up to the Obama agenda and demanding we defend our borders.”

Recently, Horne sent a cease-and-desist letter to the federal government demanding they stop sending illegal immigrants to Arizona, or he would sue.

“Thanks to Horne,” the ad continues, “proof of citizenship is required when registering to vote.”

This is true. Horne argued in front of a federal judge to allow states to require proof-of-citizenship to vote and won.

The ad also points out he’s supported by Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Here’s the thing: A few years ago, Arpaio not only wasn’t endorsing Horne, he was attacking his record on immigration.

In an ad from the election four years ago, a narrator says, “Tom Horne favors amnesty for illegal immigrants, which would cost taxpayers billions.”

It was paid for by Arpaio’s campaign for sheriff. Horne actually sued to try to stop that ad, but he lost.

We say Horne is “embattled” because he’s currently up against multiple investigations. They surround accusations of campaign violations, in which Horne allegedly campaigned from his tax-payer funded state office.

And, last year, the FBI reported that Horne, who is married, was having an affair with an employee when he accidentally hit a parked car – and didn’t leave a note.

So far, Horne’s campaign has raised almost three times as much money as Brnovich’s campaign. But, they trade off on big endorsements.

Brnovich has the support of Gov. Brewer and former Sen. Jon Kyl. And Horne has Sheriff Arpaio and several law enforcement associations in his corner.

Whoever wins on Tuesday will be facing off against Democrat Felecia Rotellini in the general election.

Q&A with the Horne campaign:

  • Why does the Horne campaign think it’s relevant that Mark Brnovich donated to a Democrat a decade ago?

Because it calls into question his claim to be a conservative.

  • Was Mr. Horne formerly a registered Democrat?

Yes, prior to 1996, but so was President Reagan and numerous other conservative office holders.

  • Why does the Horne campaign believe Governor Jan Brewer is supporting his opponent?

Because he was a member of her cabinet.

  • Mr. Horne is campaigning largely on immigration issues. Why does Mr. Horne believe immigration is an important issue for the Attorney General of Arizona?

Protecting the borders is one of the prime functions of soverignty, the federal government has failed to do its job and this has led to massive law breaking.  The people of the state of Arizona are upset that the feds are not enforcing the law.  The assumption that the campaign is largely on immigration issues is misleading, other issues include dismantling drug cartels, bringing $2 billion to state in the national mortgage settlement, human trafficking and fighting federal overreach.  Peopel bcan see my full list of achievements at electtomhorne.com .

  • Mr. Horne is facing several campaign investigations right now. How are these investigations affecting his campaign?

They're not.

Q&A

with the Brnovhich campaign:

  •  Campaign records show Mr. Brnovich donated $120 to the Rios campaign about a decade ago. Why did Mr. Brnovich support the Rios campaign?

​After what must have been an exhaustive review of my credentials and background, the only issue my opponent could find is a $120 donation I made to a Democrat nearly a decade ago. I made the donation in hoping to broaden the number of Democrats willing to work with Republicans on important issues, such as strengthening parental notification laws for minors seeking an abortion.

  • Does that reflect his position on immigration, ‘the open borders movement,’ giving driver’s licenses and tax-payer funded tuition to undocumented immigrants?

The claims in the ad are ludicrous. I am the only candidate in the race for Attorney General who has spoken in support of Governor Brewer's ban on driver licenses for illegal immigrants. The truth is that securing the border is the first step to maintaining order, and I am committ​ed to using every resource available to the AG's office to enforce the law and protect the people of AZ.  

  • What is Mr. Brnovich’s position on these issues?

​I am the only candidate who spoke out in support of Governor Brewer's ban on driver licenses for illegal immigrants. 

​In 2006 Arizona voters clearly passed Prop 300, which prohibits undocumented students from qualifying for in-state tuition rates and any type of state financial aid. I will defend this law. 

​Securing the border is the first step to maintaining order, and I am committed to using every resource available to the AG's office to enforce the law and protect the people of AZ.  

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