Elections

Primary Day 2014: Bums Bounced, Dems Given Openings to Exploit

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And this was the same AG who was guilty of a vehicular hit and run with Chenal in the car as they headed to her apartment for a midday rendezvous.

Witnessed by two FBI agents, the incident made Horne into a laughingstock. Horne ultimately pleaded no contest to the hit and run charge and paid a fine.

Brnovich's challenge to Horne in the primary was immense but not a guaranteed death blow.

The AG pandered to the GOP's far right and anti-immigration crazies, an irony considering that Horne is a naturalized American citizen, born in Canada, and once was a Democrat.

In Brnovich, anti-Horne Republicans had an ex-appointee of Governor Jan Brewer, and a political scion of the Goldwater Institute, backed by conservative GOPers like County Attorney Bill Montgomery and former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl.

Horne had little to use against Brnovich, save the empty claim that Brnovich was for "open borders" because he'd once made a small donation to Democratic Pinal County Supervisor Pete Rios.

Following the Beattie allegations, the AG was incapable of drawing contributions like an incumbent should, which was understandable given his legal problems.

Still, Horne had his family ace in the hole, his rich sister Christine Newman, who loaned him $300,000 during this election cycle.

Ultimately, Horne outspent Brnovich five to one.

Crucial to Horne's defeat was educating voters about his misdeeds, and for that we can thank Mesa Republican Tyler Montague, president of the Arizona Public Integrity Alliance, which spent around $600,000 to $700,000 this year to inform Arizonans of the ethical lapses of politicians such as Horne.

For doing this, Montague's AZPIA, a 501(c)4 nonprofit, has been derided as "dark money," as it does not disclose its donors.

The catch-22? Montague would not receive those contributions, mostly from Republicans who do not wish to be vilified by fellow GOPers, if the money were not "dark."

I and ever other scribe in this town can write till our hands fall off about scalawags like Horne, but the general public will never get the message unless it takes the form of a TV ad.

That's why I doff my chapeau in the general direction of Mesa for Montague's selfless efforts. Remember, Montague has a day job, and is not a professional campaign guy.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons