PHOENIX — U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon on Wednesday called Arizona Attorney
General Tom Horne to urge him to abandon his re-election bid because of a series
of allegations that cast doubt on the Republican’s ability to win the election.
Salmon told Horne he believes he is so politically damaged by the events that
not only might he lose the GOP primary against challenger Mark Brnovich but that
Democrat Felecia Rotellini could win the general election.
Horne spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham confirmed the call and said he told Salmon
he will not exit the race. Salmon’s spokeswoman, Kristine Michalson, also
confirmed the call. She said Salmon wasn’t available for further comment.
Salmon’s call to Horne was first reported by The Arizona Republic.
Horne is facing a renewed campaign-finance complaint from his 2010 election bid
and a new election-law complaint alleging he’s used his executive staff to run
his campaign. He adamantly denies both allegations, but they’ll likely to take
months to resolve, opening Horne to political attacks that are already ongoing.
Salmon tells the Republic he told Horne that as former state Republican Party
chairman he decided it was necessary to step in and tell Horne how he feels.
“I said, `Tom, it’s not just one thing _ it’s a lot of things,’ “ Salmon said
he told Horne, according to the Republic. “I’m not saying that you’re guilty,
that’s for other venues to decide. But what I am saying is there’s significant
concerns that I have about your viability and being able to do the job as the
current attorney general with all these accusations.”
Horne said in a statement that he’s won without endorsements from
`establishment” politicians and can do it again.
“I will fight for Arizona’s conservative principles and if some politicians
disagree with me, or want to be influenced by a campaign-finance dispute that
was judged in my favor, so be it,” Horne said. “I am heartened by the support
of grassroots conservative Republicans, including endorsements from 12
Wednesday’s events come a week after Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk
reinstated a complaint alleging that Horne and aide Kathleen Winn illegally
worked together on outside ads targeting Horne’s Democratic opponent before the
November 2010 election. She ordered him to repay $400,000 to donors to the
outside group and amend his campaign finance reports. He and Winn also could
face up to $1.2 million in fines, three times the amount Polk says was
An administrative law judge who heard three days of testimony ruled in April
that there wasn’t enough evidence to uphold Polk’s campaign finance violation
order. Polk, however, wasn’t bound by that finding. Horne said he plans to
appeal to Superior Court.
Horne has until June 2 to reply to a new complaint from former staffer Sarah
Beattie. She alleges in a complaint filed with the Arizona Secretary of State
and citizens clean elections Commission that she was hired last year mainly to
do campaign work and that many other staff in Horne’s executive office also do
extensive campaign work on public time.