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State Attorney General Debate Wrap-Up

Phoenix, AZ – It didn't take long for the candidates to start attacking each
other in a televised debate Tuesday night. In fact, the charges
started coming with Andrew Thomas' opening statement where he
pointed out that Tom Horne ran a company that filed for
bankruptcy and that he entered into an agreement with the
Securities and Exchange Commission that resulted in a lifetime
trading ban. Horne conceded the facts but said Thomas has a
reason to bring up something that happened 40 years ago.

(Because as we speak, he's under investigation by the FBI and an
indictment may well follow. As we speak, he's under investigation
by the state bar and a disbarment may well follow because a court
found that he had prosecuted people for personal political
purposes and personal political retribution.)

Thomas was quick to respond, provoking a back-and-forth in front
of the cameras.

(AT: These are smears and innuendo.)

(TH: It's not a smear and an innuendo. It's right there on the
front page of the newspapers.)

(AT: Let's talk about facts, Tom. You admitted violating federal
securities laws. You admitted it. That's a fact. And you're still
lying about it.)

(TH: Well, there was bad bookkeeping. That's what it was.)

(AT: Who was your accountant, Tom?)

(TH: It was 40 years ago.)

(AT: Who was your accountant?)

(TH: It was 40 years ago. And I was a student.)

(AT: This is embarrassing.)

(TH: And I got in over my head I admit. But this is the sort of
thing Andrew does. He'll go after people who are against him. I
hope there's no one in the audience who's ever made a mistake on
their mortgage obligations.)

(AT: You're running for the chief law enforcement officer of the

Thomas, for his part, does not deny his role in using his
position as Maricopa County attorney to bring charges against
judges and county supervisors -- and that the cases either have
been thrown out of court or withdrawn. But Thomas insisted there
is evidence of crimes, including bribery.

(Sheriff Arpaio and I, just a few hours ago, had a press
conference in which we shared some of the evidence that we have
withheld up until now, because I'm still hopeful that there will
be investigaitons and thorough prosecutions, though we have
improperly been prevented from doing our job.)

Thomas can't do anything because he quit as county attorney
earlier this year to run for attorney general. Thomas also took a
shot at Horne for having been a Democrat until 14 years ago.
Horne said he learned as he grew, pointing out that Ronald Reagan
at one time was a Democrat. Thomas was unimpressed.

(Look, I'm a conservative. I don't just play one in elections
years. Tom is pretending to be a conservative. Frankly, he was a
financial con artist years ago and he's a political con artist

Horne, in turn, said Thomas is distorting his record.

(You can't trust anything that Andrew Thomas said. I have
documented that I voted for the school choice tuition tax credit,
that I've strongly pushed school choice as superintendent of
schools. I've made conservative principles work there. I have
never been for abortion on demand. I have never been for
federally funded abortions. I have voted to restrict abortion and
I'm committed to enforce abortion laws.)

Yet after the debate and 25 minutes of what might otherwise
border on slander, the pair did find common ground on one thing:
Each will support whoever wins the Republican primary, no matter
who the Democrats nominate. Horne said it's only right.

(I think that when you run in a primary you seek the nomination
of you party, there's a covenant there. As part of that process
you have to support whoever wins it.)

Thomas agreed.

(I'm a loyal Republican. I agree with what Tom said. When you
enter into a Republican primary you should support the winner and
not be a sore loser.)

The three Democratic contenders will debate tonight. For Arizona
Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.