Save for his cast-bound right leg and the scooter next to him, which he uses to get around while recuperating from a recent bone-graft operation, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich looks like John Belushi in Animal House.
Maybe it's the wiry black hair, dark features, and jovial persona. The comparison isn't far off the mark. Belushi was of Albanian stock, and Brnovich's parents, both ethnic Serbs, hailed from a similar part of the world, the former Yugoslavia.
Dressed casually in a T-shirt and jeans, drinking cup after cup of Diet Pepsi in a Mexican joint near the Paradise Valley Mall just a couple of days before Christmas, Brnovich explains why, on the campaign trail during the Republican primary, he sometimes described himself as "the Jerry Garcia of Arizona politics" to groups of GOPers.
"I swore to myself that if I got into this, I was not going to be the dude with the canned speech," he says, speaking rapidly in a gravelly voice during one of a series of long interviews with New Times.
"You know the Grateful Dead's gonna play 'Playing in the Band,' right? But are you going to get the four- or five-minute version or are you going to get the 20-minute version?"