Dunn, a Republican who filed paperwork to enter the race May 4, was one of four finalists to serve as the interim County Attorney after Andrew Thomas resigned from the office April 6 to run for Attorney General.
The County Board of Supervisors chose Richard Romley to serve as the interim office holder until a special election Nov. 2. Romley was the County Attorney from 1989 to 2004.
Romley and former deputy County Attorney Bill Montgomery, both Republicans, have also entered the race.
“We need a County Attorney free from the past and free from the practices of the prior administration,” Dunn said in a breezy courtyard in downtown Phoenix across from Maricopa County Superior Court.
Besides his 16 years as County Attorney, Romley served as a consultant for the Board of Supervisors in late 2008 and early 2009 on matters pertaining to a power struggle between the board and Thomas and the County Attorney’s Office.
That short stint as consultant resulted in conflicts of interest for Romley, who as interim County Attorney is now in the business of defending the county and board.
Romley has hired an ethics advisor to navigate through the ethical issues that will arise from his working for the board.
Montgomery was Chief of the Vehicle Theft Bureau under Thomas and a prosecutor during Romley’s tenure.
Montgomery said in an interview with the Arizona Capitol Times that he will continue Thomas’ policies, such as prosecuting illegal immigrants as co-conspirators to human smugglers.
Dunn said he will restore the morale, budget and the office’s effectiveness that he said Thomas left in shambles.
“The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is literally broken,” Dunn said.
Dunn said he is a fiscal conservative who has left Chandler in good financial standing and he touted his leadership in regional issues as mayor and his legal experience of 16 years, mostly in family and civil law.
The five-member County Attorney Selection Committee that chose Romley was concerned about Dunn’s lack of criminal law experience, according to a report by the committee.
About a dozen supporters turned out for the announcement, and a group of politicians stood behind him at the podium, including Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, Speaker Pro Tempore Steve Yarbrough, Chandler City Councilman Jack Sellers, Majority Leader John McComish and Rep. Rich Crandall.
Dunn said he will not resign his mayor’s seat since he will have met his term limit in January anyway.
The winner of the special election will serve the two years remaining on the term.