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Crump files exploratory committee for AG run

Rep. Sam Crump is hoping to bring his decades of legal experience to bear as Arizona’s top law enforcement official.

Crump, an Anthem Republican, filed an exploratory committee on June 26 for a run at the attorney general’s position, which will be vacated by term-limited incumbent Terry Goddard. The second-term legislator said his legal résumé is as varied as it is long, and he believes his “unique experience” makes him well-suited for the job.

Crump got his start as a prosecutor with the U.S. Army in Germany, a position that eventually led him to his private practice, Boates & Crump, in Anthem. In between, he served as a legal advisor to school boards, assistant city attorney and legislative counsel to the California Judges Association.

“Not only do I have 20 years of legal experience, but I have served in a legal-advisory capacity to many, many different aspects of government,” he said. “I think that gives me very unique perspectives.”

Crump told the ~Yellow Sheet Report~ in June that he was considering a run for attorney general. He said at the time that if he filed an exploratory committee, it would be a sign that he was likely to enter the race.

In an interview on June 29, Crump avoided making any declarative statements and joked about being careful to avoid violating Arizona’s resign-to-run law – several politicians, including the man Crump is hoping to succeed, have faced such allegations lately – but said he is “very serious about my exploratory committee.”

If Crump decides to take the plunge in 2010, he will be jumping into what could be a crowded Republican field. Tom Horne, now serving as superintendant of public instruction, filed an exploratory committee in December. And Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, an icon to anti-illegal immigration activists, is widely expected to enter the race as well, though he also is rumored to be a potential gubernatorial candidate as well.

“We certainly have some differences, and those will be talked about more as we go forward,” Crump said of Horne.

Crump said his decision whether to run won’t be influenced by whether other prominent Republicans decide to enter the race as well, but he said he hopes Thomas opts to keep his job at the county. Thomas, Crump said, is doing great work at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, where he and Sheriff Joe Arpaio have garnered national attention for their use of local law enforcement to fight illegal immigration, and he would like to see the county attorney continue that work through the end of his term in 2013.

Crump said he wants to do more to crack down on illegal immigration than Goddard has.

“I would like, to the extent possible, to utilize the attorney general position to help enforce our immigration laws,” Crump said. “I don’t think Terry Goddard has done much in that area, and I’m not aware of restrictions. I think that’s just kind of been his choice.”

As attorney general, Crump said he would also like to focus on crimes against the vulnerable, especially the elderly. Crump’s recent experiences in preparing to move his mother into assisted living got him thinking about the fraud and abuse that some senior citizens face, and he said he would like to use the Attorney General’s Office as a shield to “defend vulnerable people, vulnerable populations such as the elderly from fraud and abuse.”

Under Arizona’s resign-to-run law, Crump cannot formally declare himself a candidate until the end of the year, but he said it’s likely he’ll speak more about a campaign once the legislative session and the budget crisis are behind him.

“We’re formulating our positions and so forth on specifics, and we’ll be holding a press conference after the dust settles down here,” he said.

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