Democrat Rotellini files for attorney general race

Posted: Updated:
Felecia Rotellini filed nominating petitions Monday. By Jennifer Thomas Felecia Rotellini filed nominating petitions Monday. By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX (AP) -- Democrat Felecia Rotellini said Monday she's ready to take on either Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne or his Republican primary opponent in the November general election with a full war chest.

Rotellini's comments came after she filed nominating petitions to officially qualify for the ballot. She said she expects to have more than $1 million in the bank by June to take on either Horne or his Republican challenger, Mark Brnovich.

She will need the money to fend off efforts by the candidates and independent groups seeking to keep a Democrat from gaining a major statewide seat for the first time in four years. She ran against Horne in 2010 and narrowly lost an election that led to a now-renewed campaign finance complaint against the attorney general.

"I intend to have a war chest of over a million dollars to make sure I can do the commercials and be ready for the attack ads I know will come towards me," Rotellini said. "And this time around, we'll be ready."

Rotellini, 56, faces no opposition in August's Democratic primary, so her money will be on hand for the general election battle.

Rotellini said whichever challenger emerges will be "broke and bruised" from a GOP primary that is shaping up as a contest focused on controversies surrounding Horne over the past two years.

Brnovich has said Horne created a "culture of corruption" in the office and called on him to step down.

Horne faces a campaign finance complaint from his 2010 run against Rotellini that was reinstated last week. A prosecutor has accused him of illegally coordinating with an aide who operated an independent group that ran attack ads against Rotellini. He's denied any wrongdoing.

Horne also faces a new election law complaint by a staffer who resigned last month. Sarah Beattie alleges that Horne was essentially running his campaign using state staffers who did work for the campaign on public time.

He calls those allegations "completely untrue."

Rotellini said she thinks those issues will resonate with voters if Horne makes it out of his primary.

"For the attorney general to have constant scandals, to have an office mired in politics, we just need to change that," she said.

Rotellini came close to beating Horne in the 2010 general election, losing by about 63,000 votes out of a total of 1.6 million ballots cast. She has been an attorney for 27 years, including 13 years as a civil and criminal prosecutor in the Arizona attorney general's office and four years as supervisor of the State Banking Department, which regulates financial institutions.

She said that she expects to be attacked for lacking prosecution experience but that those claims are false and will fail.

"They tried that in 2010, and it failed miserably," she said. "I have a record of results and you can't get that kind of record of results without being a prosecutor in the trenches."