Arizona GOP school boss candidate returns disgraced former lawmaker’s contribution

Aug 31, 2022, 10:52 AM | Updated: 9:53 pm

From left, David Stringer (AP File Photo) and Tom Horne (Facebook Photo)...

From left, David Stringer (AP File Photo) and Tom Horne (Facebook Photo)

(Facebook Photo)

PHOENIX – Tom Horne, the GOP candidate for Arizona superintendent of public instruction, said he has refunded disgraced former state lawmaker David Stringer’s campaign contribution.

According to state campaign finance records available as of Wednesday morning, Stringer provided a $1,400 in-kind contribution to Horne’s campaign on May 20. Horne’s last finance report was filed July 18.

According to Arizona’s campaign finance candidate guide, “In-kind contributions are non-monetary benefits, including goods, services or anything else of value that are provided to a candidate committee without charge or at less than the usual and normal charge.”

It’s not clear what Stringer provided for Horne’s campaign or how Horne refunded it.

Horne’s announcement came after he publicly defended Stringer against decades-old allegations of child molestation in recent interviews, including one with KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Gaydos and Chad Show.

Stringer resigned from the Arizona House in 2019 amid an ethics investigation following newspaper reports that he was charged with child sex crimes in Baltimore in 1983.

He was accused of paying teenage boys for sex acts, according to documents released by the House Ethics Committee after he stepped down. ABC15 reported that Stringer pleaded to lesser charges and was sentenced to five years of probation and 1,040 hours of community service. The case was ultimately expunged.

“If I thought there was even a fraction of 1% chance that he was guilty of that accusation, I would not have accepted a contribution from him,” Horne told Gaydos and Chad on Monday. The next day, Horne tweeted that he was returning Stringer’s contribution.

At the time of his resignation three years ago, Stringer was also under investigation over controversial comments on race and immigration.

Horne has been under fire since Friday, when AZ Family reported on Stringer’s connection to his campaign.

When reporter Morgan Loew asked Horne if Stringer was “associated” with his campaign, Horne said “absolutely” and added that Stringer was “completely innocent of the charges against him.”

The interview became fodder for attacks from Democrats, including his opponent in November’s general election, incumbent Superintendent Kathy Hoffman.

In Tuesday’s tweet saying he was refunding Stringer’s contribution, Horne said, “That in-kind donation was the only association he ever had with our committee. He is not involved with our campaign.”

That came a day after Horne appeared on Gaydos and Chad and said, “He’s made a couple of contributions and he arranged for some signs to be put up in Prescott, and that’s it.”

Horne also continued to defend Stringer, citing the fact that he hadn’t been disbarred as a lawyer over the child sex allegations.

“He would not be practicing law if there was any chance that he was guilty of child molestation,” Horne said.

Horne’s wife has provided legal representation to Stringer, which “brought home to me that he really is innocent,” Horne said.

Horne, who won the Republican nomination for superintendent of public instruction during the Aug. 2 primary, is attempting to make a political comeback.

He served two terms as school superintendent before successfully running for state attorney general in 2010.

As attorney general, Horne was dogged by allegations of campaign-finance violations and the revelation of a hit-and-run incident in a Phoenix parking garage and an extramarital affair.

His reelection bid ended with a primary loss to Mark Brnovich in the 2014 GOP primary.

Correction: An earlier version of this story implied that Stringer had made a cash donation to Horne’s campaign. Campaign finance reports available as of Wednesday show only an in-kind contribution, and it’s not clear what Stringer provided for Horne’s campaign.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

File photo of Phoenix police SUVs parked in front of a metal utility pole. A suspect was arrested A...

Arrest made in shooting that led to power outage in Phoenix nearly 3 months ago

A suspect was arrested Tuesday in connection with a fatal shooting that led to a power outage in east Phoenix in February.

40 minutes ago

Split panel image. Democratic Rep. Stephanie Stahl Hamilton, sponsor of a proposal to repeal Arizon...

Associated Press

Democrats in Arizona Legislature making another push to repeal near-total abortion ban

For a third straight week, Democrats at the Arizona Legislature are trying to repeal the state's near-total ban on abortions.

2 hours ago

Images show brush fire in Whetstone area in southeastern Arizona. (City of Tombstone Fire Departmen...

SuElen Rivera

Elderly man dies after accidentally starting brush fire in southeastern Arizona

An elderly man died on Tuesday from burn injuries he sustained after he and his son accidentally started a brush fire in southeastern Arizona.

3 hours ago

Follow @KTAR923...

New Maricopa County animal shelter to open soon in Mesa

Maricopa County Animal Care and Control will open the doors to its new East Valley shelter on May 2, officials said.

5 hours ago

New technology will help Banner Health detect Valley fever earlier...

Serena O'Sullivan

Banner Health using new technology to detect Valley fever earlier

In order to detect Valley fever earlier, Banner Health Banner Urgent Care facilities now have a disease dashboard and a new test process.

5 hours ago

Maj. Gen. Kerry Muehlenbeck talks to Mike Broomhead about her path to leading the Arizona National ...

Mike Broomhead

Amazing Arizonans: Kerry Muehlenbeck discusses her path to leading Arizona National Guard

On this episode of Amazing Arizonans, Mike Broomhead learns more about Maj. Gen. Kerry Muehlenbeck and her path to leadership.

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.



Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Arizona GOP school boss candidate returns disgraced former lawmaker’s contribution