Blog for Arizona posted no less than eight pieces about the scandal-plagued corrupt Tom Horne, one of the most vile politicians in the state of Arizona. Longtime readers may recall how David Safier and I tore the hide off of him when last he was disgracing an office to which he was elected. We did our due diligence.
Based upon the last batch or “early” ballots dropped off on election day in Maricopa County (I will presume from the Republican East Valley), this vile politician finally overcame the lead Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman had held since election night. Kathy Hoffman is the finest Superintendent of Public Instruction this state has had in decades, so this failure is on you Maricopa County. WTF?
It is also on the lazy media villagers in this state who spent most of their time clutching their pearls and crying about how Katie Hobbs would not debate her extremist MAGA/QAnon election denier opponent (thus giving her legitimacy), in a lame-ass Clean Elections debate hosted by Ted Simons, whom “Krazy Kari” Lake walked all over and humiliated in the GQP gubernatorial primary debate. Looks Like Katie Hobbs made the right decision not to give her extremist opponent legitimacy, and the lazy media villagers were all wrong. Voters did not care.
While the lazy media villagers were fixated on bashing Katie Hobbs over a lame-ass Clean Elections debate, they should have spent more time on the other races on the ballot to inform voters, in particular, the Superintendent of Public Instruction race. It’s not like they were not all intimately familiar with the scandals and corruption of Tom Horne. They reported on it at the time. This was willful negligence on their part.
So far, only one media villager has offered a mea culpa – fat lot of good that is going to do for the scandals and corruption about to be inflicted on Arizona’s school children over the next four years by Tom Horne – E.J. Montini of the The Arizona Republic. Failing to blow the Horne on a terrible candidate for Arizona schools superintendent:
We spent so much time in recent months obsessing on the political candidates who might impact us grown-ups that we ignored – or completely forgot about – the children.
Shame on us.
And by “us” I mean … me.
Governor, senator, attorney general, secretary of state, they’re all really important.
But so, too, is superintendent of public instruction, and that race, between incumbent Kathy Hoffman and Tom Horne didn’t get nearly the attention the others did.
At least in part.
The race is still in the too-close-to-call category, possibly heading for a recount, with Horne currently ahead, which can only be explained by too many of us not knowing about the candidates or not giving a hoot [he means you East Valley].
Note: The Secretary of State election page says Horne leads Hoffman by 8,718 votes. I have never known a recount to overcome a margin of 8,000 votes, and I have been at this a long time.
There’s a reason Tom Horne lost his last post
Hoffman, a Democrat, has been a quietly confident and competent educator and administrator, just the kind of person you want in that job.
Horne, a Republican, actually had the job for two terms in the early 2000s. He’s run what amounts to a MAGA-lite campaign, spreading scary nonsense about things like critical race theory, which isn’t taught in K-12 schools, ignorantly criticizing school closures owing to COVID-19 and more.
Note: My theory is that Covid denying anti-masker and anti-vaxxer Republicans wanted to take out their anger over school closures on someone, and the persons actually responsible, lame-duck Gov. Doug Ducey and his former Arizona Department of Health Services Director, Dr. Cara Christ, were not on the ballot. Kathy Hoffman is the victim of Republican Covid denying ignorance.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention collected COVID-19 data for a full two years and the data showed Arizona had the second-highest COVID-19 death rate in the country, thanks to Gov. Ducey’s gross mismanagement of the pandemic and pandering to anti-masker, anti-vaxxer Covid denying Republicans.
After his two terms at school superintendent Horne was elected as Arizona’s attorney general. Going into his second term, however, he was defeated in the primary by current AG Mark Brnovich, who was a political novice. [And who has also abused the powers of his office.]
How did that happen?
Essentially, Brnovich’s campaign told voters that investigations into Horne’s public conduct and controversies over his personal life made him unfit for a second term.
Which it did.
He was being investigated by everybody
Horne’s loss was one of the very rare occasions when an incumbent in a top statewide office loses a primary.
“Arizona voters expect an attorney general with integrity and character, someone with convictions not only in the courtroom but in personal and family life,” Brnovich said afterwards.
What were the problems with Horne’s “integrity and character” that Brnovich was talking about?
For a time in those days Horne – the attorney general – was being investigated by the Arizona Secretary of State, the Arizona Solicitor General, the Citizens Clean Elections Commission, the Federal Bureau or Investigation, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and the Yavapai County Attorney’s office.
A lot of that had to do with allegations that he used his public office staff to help run his campaign.
Horne’s own party called him a ‘disgrace’
No criminal charges were filed but Horne did pay a $10,000 fine to the state’s Citizens Clean Elections Commission to settle complaints of violating finance laws.
In addition to the elections inquiries, FBI reports suggest that in 2012 a married Horne was having an affair with an employee and was involved in the hit-and-run of a parked vehicle. The accident was witnessed by FBI agents.
The entire episode was even seedier than that last paragraph suggests, but you get the idea.
So much so that then-U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake and then-Rep. Matt Salmon, Republicans, said Horne shouldn’t run for re-election. Then-Gov. Jan Brewer, also a Republican, endorsed Brnovich. Then-Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery [also scandal-plagued], a Republicans and now on the Arizona Supreme Court, supported Brnovich as well and called Horne a “disgrace.” [A case of the kettle calling the pot black.]
Now, Horne might get the job of the state schools superintendent, which is all about educating kids.
And for sure there is a lesson here – for grown-ups, anyway.
It is: Do your homework.
Sorry, but you can’t really blame the voters. I would point out that the Arizona Republic once upon a time did thorough reporting on all of the elected offices on the ballot. But ever since USA Today bought the paper and started mass firings of its reporters, The Republic is a mere shadow of its former self and does not provide the election reporting it once did. And it also has a B.S. policy of not endorsing candidates any longer. An endorsement of Kathy Hoffman might have been an opportunity to correct the willful negligence in reporting on this race noted by E.J Montini.