Former Assistant Attorney General Felecia Rotellini became the first candidate for Arizona AG to officially throw her hat into the ring today -- announcing that she's converting her "exploratory" committee to a "campaign" committee and definitely running.
Rotellini, a Democrat, hopes to replace her former boss, Terry Goddard, who is almost certainly running for governor.
(Goddard has yet to make the official announcement because, as a current office-holder, Arizona's resign-to-run law would require him to give up his day job once any announcement is official. The law, of course, explains why Rotellini's rumored competitors are also stuck in the "exploratory" stage.)
Rotellini has generated a fair amount of buzz in Democratic Party circles for two reasons: She's a hard-charging prosecutor who (unlike a certain county attorney we know) is apparently a seasoned hand in the courtroom. And appears to have signed on at least a few key members of former Governor Janet Napolitano's old team -- and that means she should be able to raise some big bucks.
That doesn't mean she'll win, of course; Democrat Tim Nelson raised oodles of money last year in his challenge of Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, using many of those key Napolitano contacts. He still lost.
But Rotellini could prove a tough competitor. Her official press release says she was the lead litigator for the AG's case against Arthur Andersen, for its lousy audits in the Baptist Foundation fraud case -- which returned $217 million to Baptist Foundation investors. (Nickelbag Joe, she ain't.) Rotellini was also the state superintendent of the Department of Financial Institutions for four years under Napolitano.
And -- this part we love -- she already appears to be taking swipes at Andrew Thomas (a likely Republican candidate for AG).
"Decisions about prosecutions should be based upon a fair application of the facts to the law, not what makes the best headlines," Rotellini said in her official campaign press release. "I will focus on the law and what is best for Arizonans."
That ought to be assumed -- yet, these days, in this county, those are practically fightin' words!
Rotellini's campaign Web site doesn't appear to be up and running yet, but you can read her official bio here.
A Wyoming native, Rotellini has lived in Arizona since earning her law degree from Notre Dame. The only other Democrat we're hearing is likely to run in the primary is State Representative David Lujan, but we'll let you know if other names surface.