Horne defeats Rotellini to become Arizona's new AG

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PHOENIX (AP) -- Republican Tom Horne defeated Democrat Felecia Rotellini to become Arizona's new attorney general.

Horne succeeds Attorney General Terry Goddard, the Democratic nominee for governor.

He won the race with 52 percent of the vote Tuesday, compared to Rotellini's 47 percent.

Horne attributed his victory to his willingness to defend Arizona's new immigration law and Rotellini's opposition to the law. He also said attack ads against him backfired.

"I won the race despite a massive amount of union money in the form of utterly despicable ads," said Horne, the state's public schools chief since 2003. "And I think that's because the voters know me, and therefore they didn't believe it."

Calls to Rotellini's campaign early Wednesday morning weren't immediately returned.

Horne has said his top priorities would include defending Arizona's new immigration law in court and joining a lawsuit on the state's behalf to challenge the Obama Administration's health care overhaul.

The race between Horne and Rotellini had been brutal ever since they squeaked through their party's primaries

Horne accused Rotellini of overselling her courtroom experience in her 13 years as a lawyer for the attorney general's office.

Rotellini said Horne was trying to divert attention from his lack of prosecutorial experience and the revocation of his license to sell securities decades ago.

Rotellini, who was Arizona's superintendent of financial institutions from 2006-2009, said she would have defended Arizona's new immigration law even though she didn't support it, because she didn't believe it would solve the state's border woes. Instead, she said she would have battled drug and immigrant smugglers by attacking their flow of money.

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