Thu, Feb. 20

Horne officially claims GOP nod as AG

PHOENIX -- Conceding that time -- and ballots -- had finally run out, Andrew Thomas formally conceded he will not be the Republican nominee for attorney general.

Final results from the Secretary of State's Office show state School Superintendent Tom Horne ended up with an 899-vote edge over the former Maricopa County attorney.

Thomas, who had waged a ferocious campaign against Horne, declined to be interviewed. Instead, he issued a prepared statement.

"As I promised during the campaign, I hereby endorse him and wish him the best in the general election,' Thomas said.

That endorsement, however, come after months of Thomas calling Horne a "con man' who was barred from trading by the Securities and Exchange Commission. He also got Horne to admit he failed to report a bankruptcy filing as required on certain state forms.

All that could have Horne going into the general election race with a handicap against Democrat Felecia Rotellini. She is a former assistant attorney general and was the superintendent of the Department of Financial Institutions in the Napolitano administration.

Republicans hold the edge in voter registration in Arizona. But prior elections have shown that divisive Republican primaries in the attorney general's race can result in the office going to a Democrat.

That's what happened in the 1998 battle when John Kaites said Tom McGovern "has a record, not as a prosecutor but as a criminal' based on a marijuana arrest 15 years earlier, an arrest that was never prosecuted. It even included a TV commercial with a photo of McGovern that was doctored to show him behind bars and with a beard.

But Kaites subsequently admitted to Capitol Media Services that he "tried' marijuana while in high school. McGovern won the primary, only to lose to Democrat Janet Napolitano.

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