Better Know a Candidate: Mark ‘I’d like to buy a vowel’ Brnovich


mark-brnovich*304xx276-414-62-0There is at least an even chance that Democratic candidate for Attorney General Felecia Rotellini will not get the title fight rematch to which she is entitled against Tom “banned for life by the SEC” Horne.

The GOP establishment, believing that Tommy Boy will drag down their entire ticket, has lined up behind Mark “I’d like to buy a vowel” Brnovich.

There is a report in the Arizona Republic today which posits AG candidate Brnovich’s pitch: I’m not Horne. If he means that he has not been caught canoodling with a mistress, and is not currently under four separate investigations for campaign finance law violations, then yes, Brnovich is not Tommy Boy.

But on the issues and how each man would politicize the AG’s office to pursue a right-wing ideological agenda (not part of the job description for the attorney general’s office by the way), there is not one iota of difference between the two candidates.

On the basic qualification for the job, a licensed Arizona attorney in good standing, Brnovich meets the criteria. He is a former prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attorneys office, a former Assistant Attorney General for Arizona, and a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona. He also served as the state’s former gaming director, and was head of the conservative Goldwater Institute Center for Constitutional Government think tank.

OK, that last one is an automatic disqualifier for me. Simple rule: anyone who is now or who has ever been employed by the “Kochtopus” Death Star, the Goldwater Institute, should never hold public office. Period.

Of course, Tea-Publican voters elected Tommy Boy attorney general four years ago, despite the fact that he had been banned for life by the SEC for securities fraud. They just don’t care.

So how do these two candidates compare?

Tenther “states’ rights!” litigation

Horne: Has sued the federal government over SB 1070, state abortion restrictions, voting rights, environmental regulations, etc. asserting “federal overreach” and “state’s rights.” Horne has lost almost all of these cases pursuing a right-wing ideological agenda, at substantial cost to Arizona taxpayers. Horne will point to two wins regarding union organizing (“card check”) and Horne v. Flores, Arizona’s English Language Learner program (just one problem, he was Supt. of Public Instruction at the time).

Brnovich: He also says he will aggressively defend state sovereignty (“states’ right!”) against federal overreach. He told the Lake Havasu News:

[H]e would do a better job than Horne of fighting against, what he calls, “federal overreach.” “(Our attorney general) has to make sure we’re asserting our rights under the 10th Amendment,” Brnovich said. “Radicals in the Obama administration are imposing on our state sovereignty.”

Specifically, Brnovich pointed to the federal government’s efforts to discourage coal production and usage, which, he said, hurts Arizonans. “If EPA rules and regulations (encroach on state’s rights), you’ve got to be suing them,” Brnovich said. “The left has been doing that for decades, using the courts to fight battles.”

Neither one of these Neo-Confederate “Tenther” dead-enders has heard of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution or the 14th Amendment, despite their legal education and training. And the U.S. Supreme Court upheld those EPA regulations by the way.

Women’s Reproductive Rights

Horne: Has defended every unconstitutional piece of anti-abortion legislation from Cathi Herrod and the Center for Arizona Policy (CAP) passed by our Tea-Publican controlled lawless legislature.

Brnovich: Says he will “wield the sword of justice” to protect and defend the vulnerable such as the unborn. On his campaign web site he says “We also have an obligation to protect and defend our laws that concern the unborn. I am proud to be endorsed by the Arizona Right to Life PAC and named as the “only pro-life candidate in the Attorney General race.

In other words, both candidates will politicize the AG’s office to pursue the anti-abortion crusade of CAP and the Alliance Defending Freedom to overturn Roe v. Wade. Defending the constitutional reproductive rights of adult women, not so much.

Women’s equal access to contraception under health insurance

Horne: Signed onto an amicus brief in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, aligning himself with the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom representing Conestoga Wood Specialities.

Brnovich: Visiting the nation’s capital just a few days before the Supreme Court would hear oral arguments in Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, Brnovich told National Review Online in an interview:

Brnovich returns to the issue of religious liberty, emphasizing that if we lost it, we would be losing something fundamental. “Just because you open your business to the public doesn’t mean the public has the right to run your business,” Brnovich says. “Just because you have a restaurant doesn’t mean it becomes public property.”

So for Brnovich, the “religious liberty” in Hobby Lobby was more than a religious objection to birth control. He was indirectly alluding to SB 1062 (.pdf), the Religious Bigotry Bill that was roiling Arizona politics at the time.

Discrimination against LGBT persons in employment and public accommodations

As I  explained at the time, SB 1062 would permit more than “hatin’ on the gays” by religious bigots. The language of the bill would allow for discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, sex and religion in public accommodations simply by invoking the “magic words” that it is “my sincerely held religious beliefs.” This is a “get out of jail free card” for compliance with civil rights laws based upon the mere assertion of “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Horne: I do not find a specific statement from Tom Horne on SB 1062, but I presume he shares the same view as Brnovich. (If you find a link to a statement by Tome Horne on SB 1062, please post it in the comments).

Brnovich: His use of the restaurant example in his National Review interview above indicates that he is OK with discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of race, national origin, and sex — as well as sexual orientation.

This is a serious problem, because the Attorney General’s Office has enforcement jurisdiction over the Arizona Civil Rights Act (ACRA) for discrimination in employment, public accommodations, and housing. Brnovich is intimating that he supports a “get out of jail free card” for compliance with these civil rights laws based upon the mere assertion of “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Marriage Equality in Arizona

Horne: He is presently defending Arizona’s constitutional ban against same-sex marriage in two legal challenges currently in court, although he has outsourced the actual defense of the case to the Alliance Defending Freedom. Horne agreed to let that organization take the lead, naming their lawyers as special assistant attorneys general. The integration between the AG’s office and this anti-abortion, anti-gay organization is truly disturbing.

Brnovich: I do not find a specific statement from Brnovich on marriage equality, but given his positions on “religious liberty” and “state sovereignty” against federal overreach (this time by the federal courts), I have to assume he would do exactly as Tom Horne.

Immigration Laws

Horne: He defended SB 1070 and lost at the Supreme Court. Horne is endorsed by disgraced and recalled state Senator Russell Pearce, a coauthor of SB 1070, and the only politician in Arizona more corrupt than himself, Crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio.

Brnovich: On his campaign web site he says “Whether that be protecting our voter ID laws or ensuring programs like E-Verify are adhered to, we need to make sure our immigration laws are respected and enforced. I am against amnesty and support law and order. I am the only candidate for Attorney General who has supported Governor Brewer’s Executive Order banning driver licenses being issued to illegal aliens.”

Like I said, there is not one iota of difference between these candidates. Tommy Boy is still raising and spending more money than Brnovich and he still has the support of right-wing hardliners.

So maybe Felecia Rotellini will get the title fight rematch to which she is entitled against Tom “banned for life by the SEC” Horne after all.

UPDATE: The Center for Arizona Policy now has its AZ Voter Guide for the 2014 primary online. Here is the questionnaire and responses of:

Tom Horne – Did not submit responses to the survey questions

Mark Brnovich – Answers and explanations (he is definitely a CAP candidate)


  1. The social wedge issues work well for the GOP in maintaining the blue hair vote. Why would they change the formula?

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