2014 Arizona Attorney General race: Tom Horne, Mark Brnovich face off in GOP primary

PHOENIX - Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne faces a tough challenge when Republican primary voters head to the polls Tuesday.

Former state gaming department director and prosecutor Mark Brnovich is trying to unseat the incumbent and move on to the general election in November.

Horne 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. He's consistently denied the campaign finance charges 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 are asking voters to throw the state's top law enforcement officer out of office. Brnovich has said Horne has "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.

Horne said he believes 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 said Horne hasn'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.

On Monday, Brnovich said he believed he was going to score a rare win against an incumbent.

"I like the position we're in -- I think all the hard work is going to pay off," he said.

The winner of the Republican primary faces attorney Felecia Rotellini, who is running unopposed in the Democratic primary, in November's general election. Horne beat Rotellini in 2010.

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