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Voters to pick attorney general nominees

Voters in Tuesday’s primary elections will narrow the field of candidates seeking the Arizona attorney general’s post.

Former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas faces state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne in the Republican primary.

Former state financial regulator Felecia Rotellini, state Rep. David Lujan and former state prosecutor Vince Rabago are vying to become the Democratic nominee.

The candidates in the race to replace Attorney General Terry Goddard pushed plans to confront Arizona’s border woes, fight crime and protect consumers. But the primary race was overshadowed by rancor, mostly between Thomas and Horne.

Thomas was Maricopa County’s top prosecutor for more than five years before resigning this spring to run for attorney general. His tenure was marked by his efforts to confront illegal immigration, prosecute metro Phoenix’s Baseline Killer and Serial Shooter cases and pursue criminal cases against county officials.

Horne, who is in his second term as the state’s school chief, advocated for more accountability in the schools and pushed for a bill targeting a school district’s ethnic studies program. He helped Republican legislative leaders in a legal and political dispute over Arizona’s school programs for students learning English.

Thomas criticized Horne for losing his license to sell securities while Horne was working his way through law school in the early 1970s and not disclosing his investment firm’s bankruptcy on corporate filings in recent years.

Horne said Thomas wasted millions of taxpayer dollars mounting baseless prosecutions against his political enemies that were later dismissed.

Rotellini worked as a white-collar prosecutor for the attorney general’s office and later as Arizona’s superintendent of financial institutions from 2006-2009. She pushed mandatory licensing for mortgage officers and won a settlement from a money transfer service on allegations that some of the company’s outlets failed to comply with reporting laws intended to help combat money laundering and illegal immigration.

Lujan, who earlier in his career worked on education funding issues for the attorney general’s office, is the top Democrat in the state House. He advocates for abused children in his current job as a lawyer for a group that protects kids.

Rabago worked as a criminal prosecutor and consumer protection attorney for the attorney general’s office for more than seven years and touts his experience of growing up in the border city of Douglas as useful in confronting the state’s border issues.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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