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Here are the candidates for Arizona attorney general, in their own words

Republican Mark Brnovich and Democrat January Contreras, left to right. (Flickr and AP photos)

PHOENIX — Republican Mark Brnovich will go head-to-head with Democrat January Contreras on Nov. 6 in an attempt to keep his job as Arizona attorney general.

The candidates have had a long campaign that will come to an end on Tuesday, when Arizona voters will make their way to the polls to decide who will represent them in a court of law.

According to a recent OH Predictive Insights/ABC15 poll, Brnovich is leading the race, 53 percent to 39 percent with 8 percent of voters undecided.

Here are the candidates, in their own words:

Mark Brnovich:

“I am feeling very confident. I am putting my trust and faith in Arizona voters and I believe folks appreciate all the hard work we’ve done on behalf of Arizonans, whether its increasing our criminal prosecutions against the drug traffickers and the cartels, going after human traffickers or turning a record amount of restitution to victims all throughout the state, I think we’ve represented Arizona values.

“I have a record, and if you look at our record of accomplishment, growing up in Arizona as a first-generation American, I was always taught that I should give back to my country. Whether it’s been serving my country in the military, working as a gang prosecutor, working as a prosecutor in the attorney’s office, I’ve always given back and I think my record speaks for itself. Instead, what I think is unfortunate, is my opponent is spending billions and billions of dollars to attack me personally. I’m very proud of my record, I think it speaks for itself. We get held accountable for what we do when no one’s looking and I will put my record up against anyone and I have consistently made sure we apply the rule of law and we protect hardworking Arizona taxpayers.

“As attorney general, my job is to endorse the law as is and that’s what I have done. I’ve consistently said, ‘That’s the law, and if people don’t like the law they can change it.’ I’m very proud of the fact that we’ve been recognized as a leader in victims’ rights, I’m very proud of the fact that we’ve returned a record amount of restitution to victims and we’ve defended Arizona taxpayers. We have consistently applied the law as it is.

“I was always raised that we have an obligation to give something back. I’ve served this country in the military, I’ve been a gang prosecutor, I’ve been an assistant U.S. attorney. I’ve told folks from the very beginning, for people who voted for me I’m going to work hard every day to award your trust, and for people that didn’t I’m going to work hard every day to earn your trust. I’ve consistently applied the law as it’s supposed to be applied. I’m very proud of the fact that we have a broad coalition of support.”

January Contreras:

“I bring with that my background as a former prosecutor here in Maricopa County, a former assistant attorney general, an adviser to Janet Napolitano. What I hear, I’ve been running this campaign for about a year now, what I hear from voters a lot of times it’s just about the basics. People want honest leaders, they want transparency back, they don’t want hidden agendas. Specific issues people are talking about include health care, education. Running for attorney general, it’s not surprising that people want to talk about issues there like kids in our foster care system and robocalls. It spans a big range in terms of the issues people bring up, but what I hear most often is people just want to believe in their elected officials again and there’s a lot of a lack of trust right now.

“It’s important to remember that the attorney general’s office has hundreds of good, committed lawyers. They keep their head down and avoid the politics. I was one of them; back then, we didn’t have a lot of politics to avoid. But with the opportunity to serve for attorney general, I’ll make sure that we focus on people and individuals when there are special interests that want us to do the work for them, as if we are their lawyers as opposed to working for the people. That’s a real problem. You won’t see me trying to take away health care, you won’t see me trying to join the mining industry to allow for uranium mining around the Grand Canyon. We shouldn’t be doing the bidding of these outside groups that have enough of their own lawyers to do the litigation themselves.

“The biggest opportunity we have is to be available and collaborative to different communities throughout the state. I had the opportunity to spend time and meet with people and law enforcement in different parts of the state. In rural Arizona, especially, they look forward to having a relationship with the attorney general again. I made a commitment that in my first 30 days, I’m going to visit every single county and pull together law enforcement, community leaders, faith-based leaders, so I can have a great understanding of what are the issues that are most urgent for them in their community and where does the attorney general fit in on that. That collaboration is one way that the attorney general’s office can be more effective than it currently is.

“The attorney general is the lawyer for Arizona and the people of Arizona. When it comes to doing the bidding of special interests, it’s important to remember that those guys have their own lawyers. The attorney general’s office is supposed to be different, supposed to be committed to the people of Arizona. And that’s why I’m running, because in this day and age when we just see this complete erosion of checks and balances, the attorney general is one of the most consequential places to put that check and balance back in place so that we have an independent leader within state government and say this is what our state constitution says and how can the people in Arizona be harmed by this.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ashley Flood contributed to this report. 

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