Posted: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 12:01 am
Incumbents are seldom beaten in American politics for one reason above all others — name recognition. But an incumbent’s familiarity can become a liability when voters come to associate the name with negative publicity.
Former Arizona Gaming Commissioner Mark Brnovich is betting that scale has tipped against sitting attorney general Tom Horne, and now is the time to make his move in the Republican primary.
Though he’s yet to officially file for the Aug. 26 primary, Brnovich, who has also been a state and federal prosecutor, has been on the campaign trail since October, and on Monday and Tuesday he was in Lake Havasu City speaking to the local men’s and women’s Republican groups.
“I was really excited to get the chance to talk to them,” Brnovich said. “They get the fact that we should have an attorney general who represents Arizona values.”
Openly attacking Horne, going so far as to call him a “bully,” and referring to Horne’s highly publicized scandals, chided, “When the AG gets in the headlines for the wrong reasons, that means something’s not right… We need to have an AG not distracted by legal and ethical problems representing us.”
Brnovich said he would do a better job than Horne of fighting against, what he calls, “federal overreach.”
“(Our attorney general) has to make sure we’re asserting our rights under the 10th Amendment,” Brnovich said. “Radicals in the Obama administration are imposing on our state sovereignty.”
Specifically, Brnovich pointed to the federal government’s efforts to discourage coal production and usage, which, he said, hurts Arizonans.
“If EPA rules and regulations (encroach on state’s rights), you’ve got to be suing them,” Brnovich said. “The left has been doing that for decades, using the courts to fight battles.”
Brnovich said he’s pursuing the role of the state’s highest law enforcement official out of an obligation to “protect the most vulnerable in our society.”
Improving the efficacy of Child Protective Services is among Brnovich’s chief priorities, as is fighting Mexican drug cartels.
As for marijuana, Brnovich said Arizona shouldn’t be in a hurry to legalize.
“Legislators and governors, they make the rules,” he said. “But I’m also a big believer that states are labs of democracy. Colorado and Washington are doing (legalization), but I don’t see any need to rush in Arizona. Let’s see what happens in Colorado. Let’s take some time to separate the facts from the noise.”
Brnovich said he got his conservative convictions from his mother, who grew up in Yugoslavia.
“It was horrible; she went through World War II and then Communism,” Brnovich said. “She taught me two things, one is that the USA is the greatest country on Earth and it carries the torch of liberty and freedom. And two, if government gets too big, it’s big enough to take away your freedoms.”