Sunday, May 25, 2014

Tom Horne should NOT withdraw from the AG's race

Tom Horne, Arizona's Attorney General, is a transcendentally unethical man -

- Before becoming a lawyer, the SEC permanently banned Horne from securities trading for many reasons, not least of which was fraud

- Failed to report a bankruptcy when required

- After becoming AZAG, hired an alleged girlfriend to a taxpayer-funded position for which she was considered, ummm..."underqualified"

- During his campaign for AZAG in 2010, allegedly violated campaign finance laws by coordinating activities with an independent PAC; he denied wrongdoing, but after becoming AZAG, he hired the head of the PAC to a taxpayer-funded job with his office (the case is still ongoing)

- Committed a hit-and-run accident while leaving an alleged nooner at his alleged girlfriend's home.  We know this because the FBI had him under surveillance at the time as part of the investigation into his alleged campaign violations

- Per a complaint, and a lawsuit, from a now-former staffer, has required employees of the AG's office to work on his reelection campaign while on state time

In short, he's the most ethically-challenged attorney general in Arizona's history (so far as I can find).

In 2010, I thought that Democratic nominee Felecia Rotellini was far more qualified for the job, and Horne has done absolutely nothing in the years since to alter that opinion.

IMO, he wasn't qualified for the job to begin with, should have resigned when his bad behavior brought disgrace to the office, and shouldn't have sought reelection even if he adamantly refused to resign.

Now, some big-name Republicans are on board with the "should not run for reelection" part.

- Congressman Matt Salmon personally asked Horne to drop his reelection bid.

- US Senator Jeff Flake has publicly called on Horne to withdraw from the race.

- Even former state legislator Frank "Don't Make Me Mad" Antenori, not exactly the epitome of professionalism when he was in office, is calling on Horne to step aside -

Of course, these Rs (and others) aren't bothered by cheating to win an office, or by the misuse and corruption of the office once in it.

Nope, their problem with Horne is that they believe that if he wins the Republican nomination, he probably will lose to Felecia Rotellini in the general election.

In that regard they are correct, of course. 

In 2010, a horrible year for Democratic candidates, no matter how well-qualified, Rotellini stood out.

Intelligent, accomplished, dedicated, and with a long and documented history of public service; more than one voter, including some Republicans, told me that while they voted for Horne in the end, Rotellini thoroughly impressed them.

In spite of the Republican tidal wave in 2010, Rotellini nearly defeated Horne, and 2014 isn't shaping up to be a "wave" year, for either major party.

Now, my first response when the big-name Rs started calling for Horne to step aside "Finally!  Even the Rs have had enough of Tom Horne!".

Then I started thinking about it.

People like Flake, Salmon, and Antenori are always wrong on any significant issue.

The facts that they are always wrong and yet agree with me suggest that perhaps I should reevaluate my position.

So I have.

Horne should NOT withdraw from the race, but his opponent in the Republican primary, Mark Brnovich, should.

The reasons for this are simple.

1.  Horne has thoroughly "poisoned the waters" in the race for Republican candidates.  While he has rendered himself all but un-reelectable, his presence casts a deep shadow over any other R who might win the nomination.  While another R will have a better chance of defeating Rotellini, he/she will still face some major electoral headwinds.

2.  If Brnovich stays in the race and loses the general election, or worse, the primary, he will be seen as "damaged goods".  If he withdraws now, he can come back in 2018 as a stronger candidate

The reality in AZ politics is that a Democrat can lose a significant race and come back stronger (witness: Rotellini).

A Republican?  Not so much (witness: JD Hayworth).

Just a few thoughts...

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