Who Will Chop Off the Head of Tom Horne's Zombie-Like Campaign?
Stephen Lemons Horne's Republican primary rival Mark Brnovich is running neck-and-neck with Horne among likely GOP voters, according to a recent poll.
Somehow, local moon-howlers have convinced themselves that Horne — a former Democrat still regarded as a soft-boiled egg on such hard-right issues as abortion — is a right-wing martyr.
Their revisionist thinking has to ignore a hell of a lot of history, including how Horne and Winn became the object of the FBI's curiosity and the subject of a campaign-finance complaint to begin with.
Courtesy Felecia Rotellini Horne's Democratic opponent, Felecia Rotellini, lost by 60,000 votes statewide to Horne in 2010, and is rarin' for a rematch. Courtesy Sarah Beattie Ex-staffer Sarah Beattie says Horne turned the AG's Office into his campaign headquarters.
Horne brought it all on himself. Literally.
In 2011, Horne ordered veteran AG investigator Meg Hinchey to find out who was leaking information to New Times about Chenal, then Horne's presumed mistress, whom he had hired to be an assistant attorney general at a salary of $108,000 per year.
In reality, all the info on Chenal that appeared in this publication in 2011 was public record.
But Horne was so perturbed by New Times' reporting that he sent Hinchey on a mole hunt, during which she interviewed AG employees in Phoenix and Tucson and ran a check of state phone records looking for a reporter's cell-phone number.
When the mole hunt drew close to Winn, Horne moved to block it, telling others, according to Hinchey's account, "I can't fire [Winn]; she can really hurt me."
Winn never was questioned by Hinchey, and the point was moot anyway because Winn was not the source of New Times' information.
However, during the course of Hinchey's probe, the AG investigator uncovered evidence of illegal campaign coordination between Winn and Horne in 2010.
With the approval of her direct supervisor, as well as former Judge Jim Keppel, then head of the AG's criminal division, Hinchey turned over what she had discovered to the FBI, along with other allegations of wrongdoing in the AG's Office.
According to FBI documents released in 2012, Keppel told FBI agents how both Horne and Horne's chief deputy, Rick Bistrow, suggested different ways to make Hinchey's investigative file go bye-bye.
That could have been viewed as the illegal destruction of public records, a felony in Arizona.