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Man who created infamous ‘Willie Horton’ attack ad targets Tobin

The man responsible for the most infamous negative ad in modern political history is leading the charge to unseat the speaker of the Arizona House.

In 1988, Floyd Brown was the leader of the National Security Political Action Committee, which attacked Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis with a television ad that featured the menacing mug shot of murderer and rapist Willie Horton.

Now, Brown is heading up an independent expenditure committee that is backing Republican Sen. Lori Klein in her attempt to defeat House Speaker Andy Tobin in Legislative District 1.

A message left for Brown at the number he listed with state elections officials was not immediately returned. Arizonans for an Honest Government is registered at the same address as a business Brown owns, Key Web Consulting. The committee’s treasurer, James Lacy, is an attorney and Republican operative from California.

The committee sent mailers to Republican voters earlier this month that tout Klein as the only “true conservative” in the race.

“Unlike her opponents she’s not a career politician who believes in bigger and bigger government,” the mailer declares. “She’s the only 100% pro-life, anti-tax, pro-gun rights candidate…”

However, Tobin is the only candidate in the race who is endorsed by Arizona Right to Life. He has also been endorsed by the National Rifle Association.

After redistricting earlier this year, Klein’s Anthem home was drawn into the Yavapai County-centric LD1. Rather than attempt to retain her Senate seat by facing off against Senate President Steve Pierce, Klein instead opted to run for the House against incumbents Tobin and Karen Fann.

Though Fann is only completing her first term in the Legislature, Klein is targeting Tobin in her attempt to win a second term in the Legislature. Tobin has served in the House since 2006 and became speaker in 2011, when then-Speaker Kirk Adams resigned to run for Congress.

Klein has attacked Tobin for refusing to allow an anti-union bill go to the House floor for a vote earlier this year. Although HB2103 passed the Senate 19-10, it never received a final vote in the House. The bill would have prohibited government employees from automatically deducting union dues from their paychecks.

It is unclear where the funding for the independent expenditure committee is coming from. However, Brown and Klein have a relationship. Last year, Brown complained to Klein that one of his daughter’s teachers cursed during class.

In response, she sponsored legislation earlier this year that would have required all teachers at public schools, including colleges and universities, to comply with the Federal Communications Commission standards concerning obscenity, indecency and profanity. Violators could have been fired.

The bill, SB1205, was rejected by the Senate on a 14-16 vote in February.

Brown’s controversial TV ad attacked Dukakis, a former Massachusetts’ governor, for the state’s weekend furlough program for prisoners. While on furlough, Horton, a convicted murderer at the time, raped a woman and stabbed her fiancé.

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