Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne's good buddies, former Arizona Governor Fife Symington and onetime Arizona Republican Party chair Randy Pullen, want Horne's foe in the GOP primary, Mark Brnovich, to tap out of the fight.
In a campaign fundraising e-mail sent to Republican faithful, Symington and Pullen argue that Brnovich is behind in the polls and in fundraising and that his staying in the race only helps Horne's once-and-future Democratic rival, Felecia Rotellini.
"In my opinion, Brnovich is not a viable candidate and should get out of the race," claims Symington in the mass e-mail. "His continued presence will only aid the Democrats in the General Election."
Nah, Fife, what Rotellini wants more than anything is to run against "Hit-and-Run" Horne, the guy who didn't leave a note when he backed into another car in a parking structure at his alleged mistress Carmen Chenal's apartment complex.
Because of this -- and because Horne put Chenal on the state payroll at a yearly salary of $108K, and because of the FBI investigation, and because of Horne's alleged campaign finance shenanigans in 2010, which will be the subject of a court hearing to begin Monday --Horne is considered damaged goods and ripe for a knockout punch.
The last thing Rotellini wants is to face a relatively scandal-free Republican in a general election. Against Horne, she can just go the high road and let independent expenditure committees eat the AG alive with attack ads that quote transcripts from the FBI investigation.
There are a lot of Republicans who will vote for Rotellini over Horne. That's why Horne allegedly cheated in 2010, because Rotellini was peeling off too many Republican voters. He needed an attack ad to help do her in. That ad was provided by Business Leaders for Arizona, an IE run by Kathleen Winn, now Horne's outreach director.
The argument regarding poor fundraising is pretty funny, considering that the $300K war chest Horne's been bragging about is artificially inflated by $100,000 lent to him by his sister Christine Newman.
That loan is already a joke in political circles and has spawned its own Twitter hashtag #whatmysistergaveme.
The "polls" that the Horne camp seems to be referencing are way old. And in Horne's case, the only polls that matter are informed polls, where likely voters are told about Horne's various ethical transgressions.
As the Arizona Capitol Times' Yellow Sheet pointed out Thursday, Pullen's call for Brnovich to bail is pretty ironic considering that Pullen was not known as a money-magnet when he was GOP chair.
Also, Pullen currently is seeking the GOP primary nod for state treasurer along with two other candidates, each of whom has raised considerably more cash than Pullen. By the same logic, Pullen should be a good soldier and fall on his sword.
The Yellow Sheet did not remark on the tight bond between Symington -- who donated to Business Leaders for Arizona in 2010 -- and Horne. Nor did it comment on an amusing coincidence.
That is, both Horne and Symington faced scandals in their administrations because of certain women they employed.
In Horne's case, of course, it was Chenal, who left the AG's Office last year for a job with Horne supporter Dennis Wilenchik's law firm.
In Symington's case, it was a woman named Annette Alvarez, whom he hired to a $60K-a-year gig as his policy adviser for international relations while he was governor.
In that article, Bodney writes:
"The Governor filled the highest echelons of state government with all the thirtysomething Symington Company employees that public money could buy.
"Annette Alvarez was one of them. A beauty. Symington paid her $60,000 a year and made her his top assistant in charge of Arizona's international trade.
"Just because she had no experience in foreign trade didn't matter. She hadn't graduated college, either. Perhaps she had some special skill that qualified her for the job."
The piece continues, with more revelations unearthed by New Times:
When New Times was researching the foibles of this appointee, we asked ourselves how Symington could have picked this woman for the job. Along the way, we discovered a love letter she'd written My Dear Fife" in the early hours of the campaign, back in December 1989.
In that handwritten letter, Alvarez professed her undying love for Symington. "I do know I love you," she wrote, and it will be forever, but I don't think it's the kind of love I'm looking for."
As the letter went on, she described the pain of a previous relationship she'd had with a married man. She said she didn't want to live out any more secrets." She waxed on about the hummingbird Fife had given her. Bright, vibrant and free."
And she said: My Dear Fife, I am slowly going under by allowing this heightened intimacy to continue. I've changed the faces but the behaviors are constant."
Last October we published a story that catalogued the millions of dollars in lost opportunities Alvarez had cost the state. We also offered the only logical explanation of how this college dropout had risen so quickly to the top of the Symington Administration. It spoke volumes about the Governor's judgment.
And his hubris.
While we said the letter suggested an intimate affair between Symington and Alvarez, we also admitted that the missive, at a minimum, showed Annette's emotional dependency on Fife. All in all, it was not a healthy way to conduct the state's foreign affairs.
Alvarez ultimately resigned. Both parties have denied an affair. And such things are notoriously difficult to confirm, absent, say, a blue dress adorned with DNA, a la Monica Lewinsky's.
Ultimately, Symington's political career was undone for other reasons. Still, Symington's stalwart support for Horne, whom I'm told once did legal work for Symington back in the day, does call to mind this intriguing, though admittedly imperfect parallel.
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