Andrew Thomas Resigning April 6 as Maricopa County Attorney to Run for State Attorney General


Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas will resign from office on April 6 to run for state Attorney General.

Thomas' campaign consultant, Jason Rose, issued a news release this afternoon about the decision, linking to a video on Thomas' exploratory committee Web site.

The move has long been anticipated, but some pundits have wondered whether Thomas' political -- and potentially legal -- problems would keep him in place as county attorney.

Thomas has been accused of abusing his power in his and Sheriff Joe Arpaio's long-term fight with Board of Supervisors members and other county leaders. He's the subject of high-profile investigations by the State Bar and the U.S. Justice Department.

This will be Thomas' second bid for state AG. He lost his first attempt in 2002 to the current AG, Democrat Terry Goddard. After that, he ran successfully for county attorney in 2004, winning re-election in 2008.

Thomas' failed fight against county leaders and judges will be one of his legacies in office.

Last month, Thomas and his ally, Arpaio, withdrew the poorly written, conspiracy-minded RICO lawsuit they had filed against the Board of Supervisors, county managers, judges, and local lawyers.

Thomas wants Governor Jan Brewer to select his replacement, but that honor will surely go to the Board of Supervisors. Two of them, Don Stapley and Mary Rose Wilcox, were indicted criminally after being targeted by Thomas. The charges have since been dropped, (though Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores is reviewing the cases).

Supervisors have courted Chandler Mayor Boyd Dunn, a divorce lawyer, as a possible successor to Thomas.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.