Tom Horne and Andrew Thomas’ campaigns against each other didn’t get any more brutal, but they did become a bit more visible as the Republican attorney general candidates unleashed their first television ads of the campaign season.
Horne’s first ad, which aired on July 19, trumpeted his efforts against bilingual education and ethnic studies programs as superintendent of public instruction. But the second, released the following day, unloaded on Thomas over allegations that he used the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to launch politically motivated prosecutions against his enemies.
“Andrew Thomas is under investigation by the FBI and State Bar. Thomas could be indicted and disbarred. Why? A court found Thomas prosecuted those who opposed him politically. Thomas was called unethical, evil. Thomas even falsely charged four judges who ruled against him. Every case lost. Millions of tax dollars wasted. Andrew Thomas is completely wrong for Arizona,” Horne’s ad said.
The Thomas campaign announced his first television spot just a few hours later. The ad touted Thomas’s anti-illegal immigration credentials and blasted Horne over a lifetime ban the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission handed down in 1973 after an investment company he owned violated numerous financial regulations.
“As county attorney, Andrew Thomas helped SB 1070, reduced crime and prosecuted con artists. Tom Horne is a financial con man, banned for life by the SEC. We deserve an attorney general who will fight fraud, not commit it,” the ad said.
Thomas spokesman Jason Rose said the ad would run statewide on cable television, though he declined to say which networks would air it, or when it would debut. Thomas, a Clean Elections candidate, is at a major financial disadvantage to the traditionally funded Horne. He will have just $183,000 to run his campaign, while Horne reported raising about $325,000 by the end of June and has said he expects to raise more than $400,000 for the campaign cycle.
Rose downplayed Horne’s fundraising advantage.
“It’s substantial and it’s going to get the message out,” Rose said. “Everyone allocates their resources differently. We’ve already dropped a mailer statewide. Tom Horne hasn’t done that.”