Ariz. attorney general's race undecided Wednesday

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PHOENIX (AP) -- The Republican and Democratic primaries in the Arizona attorney general's race remained unresolved early Wednesday as the margins separating the top contenders got smaller and smaller.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne held a lead of several hundred votes over former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas in the GOP primary.

Former state financial regulator Felecia Rotellini held a similar advantage over state Rep. David Lujan in the Democratic primary. The third Democrat in the race, former state prosecutor Vince Rabago, fell far behind Rotellini and Lujan.

Outcomes in both races likely won't be known for several days.

"This thing is not over," said Horne, who expected to be ahead by a bigger margin, but believes he was hurt by low voter turnout.

The Thomas campaign issued a statement Wednesday saying Thomas would support Horne in the general election if Thomas should lose.

"If Tom prevails I don't want there to be any doubt that I will support him against the Democrat. Let's see where the vote counting takes us knowing that in the end the Republican Party will offer a nominee that is vastly better than a Democrat counterpart..."

Lujan inched closer to his opponent as election night wore on.

"I think we have a ways to go before we know who is the winner in this race," Lujan said.

The candidates in the race to replace Attorney General Terry Goddard pushed plans to confront Arizona's border woes, fight crime and protect consumers. But the primary race was overshadowed by rancor, mostly between Thomas and Horne.

Thomas was Maricopa County's top prosecutor for more than five years before resigning this spring to run for attorney general. His tenure was marked by his efforts to confront illegal immigration, prosecute metro Phoenix's Baseline Killer and Serial Shooter cases and pursue criminal cases against county officials.

Horne, who is in his second term as the state's school chief, advocated for more accountability in the schools and pushed for a bill targeting a school district's ethnic studies program. He helped Republican legislative leaders in a legal and political dispute over Arizona's school programs for students learning English.

Thomas criticized Horne for losing his license to sell securities while working his way through law school in the early 1970s and for not disclosing his investment firm's bankruptcy on corporate filings in recent years.

Horne said Thomas wasted millions of taxpayer dollars mounting baseless prosecutions against his political enemies that were later dismissed.

Rotellini worked as a white-collar prosecutor for the attorney general's office and later as Arizona's superintendent of financial institutions from 2006-2009.

She pushed mandatory licensing for mortgage officers and won a settlement from a money transfer service on allegations that some of the company's outlets failed to comply with reporting laws intended to help combat money laundering and illegal immigration.

Lujan, who earlier in his career worked on education funding issues for the attorney general's office, is the top Democrat in the state House. He advocates for abused children in his current job as a lawyer for a group that protects kids.

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