Rotellini coming back for another run at AG

Jeremy Duda//February 25, 2013

Rotellini coming back for another run at AG

Jeremy Duda//February 25, 2013

Felecia Rotellini

Democrat Felecia Rotellini, who narrowly lost the attorney general’s race in 2010, is coming back for another run at the job, setting up a potential rematch with Tom Horne.

Rotellini filed a campaign committee to run for attorney general in 2014 Monday. In 2010, she lost by 3.8 percentage points to Horne, making her the most successful statewide Democratic candidate in a banner Republican year that saw every other statewide Democrat lose by double digits.

“I want to make Arizona safer for families, children and law-abiding businesses,” Rotellini said in a written statement. “We need new direction in the Attorney General’s Office – a top law enforcement officer committed to rising above partisan politics. We need an attorney general to fight criminals whether they carry a gun or a pen, human smugglers and traffickers, those who don’t play by the rules and scammers who defraud our seniors.”

Rotellini kicked off her campaign with the backing of a big-name supporter – former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, who was the Democratic nominee for Arizona’s open U.S. Senate seat in 2012. Carmona is serving as Rotellini’s campaign chairman.

“In 2010, Felecia won more votes than any Democrat on the ballot. Her no-nonsense message and prosecutor’s bona fides mark her as the real deal – an attorney general who will go after criminals with the integrity Arizona voters expect from the state’s top prosecutor,” Carmona said in Rotellini’s press release.

Circumstances may be a lot more favorable next year for Rotellini, a former state prosecutor and former superintendent of the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions.

The political climate in 2014 is unlikely to be as bad for Democrats as it was in 2010, which was arguably the best Republican year in a generation. And Horne, who is running for re-election, is facing serious allegations of campaign finance violations, an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate and general dysfunction in his office.

Horne is facing civil charges for allegations that he illegally coordinated with an independent expenditure committee that ran $500,000 in ads against Rotellini. He is also facing a lawsuit from an employee who claims Horne retaliated against her for political reasons, as well as a traffic charge for allegedly leaving the scene after backing into a car in a parking garage.

Rotellini said she is running to restore focus and dignity to the Attorney General’s Office.

“The attorney general should be an independent watchdog, not a career politician that promotes himself or is accused of violating laws he is supposed to enforce. The circus act has to stop. We must restore integrity back into the Attorney General’s Office,” Rotellini said in the written statement.

It is unknown whether Horne will face a challenge in the Republican primary next year. And if he is, Rotellini may have a tough Democratic primary on her hands.

Former Attorney General Terry Goddard, Rotellini’s old boss during her days as a prosecutor, is considering a run for his old job. Goddard, the Democratic nominee for governor in 2010, said he doesn’t have a timeline for when he will decide whether to run, but said Rotellini’s decision to file so early won’t rush him into a decision.