In what has become an annual tradition, on Wednesday, the Arizona Women Lawyers Association hosted a debate of the candidates for Arizona Attorney General. Held at the University Club in Phoenix, it featured a packed-to-the-gills room, candidates committed to their goals, and organizers who were committed to: (1) a value-packed event and (2) getting people out on time.

Organizers succeeded on both counts. The candidates? Well, attendees may each have had their own favorites.

AWLA Arizona Women Lawyers Association logoThe format was composed of 10-minute candidate statements, followed by 10-minute rebuttals, and finally audience question. The candidates are Republican Mark Brnovich and Democrat Felecia Rotellini.

Rather than give a blow-by-blow, let me share a few of the candidates’ main points.

Mark Brnovich speaks at the debate of Arizona Attorney General candidates at a forum sponsored by the Arizona Women Lawyers Association, Sept. 24, 2014.

Mark Brnovich speaks at the debate of Arizona Attorney General candidates at a forum sponsored by the Arizona Women Lawyers Association, Sept. 24, 2014.

Brnovich:

“We as a society cannot tolerate when our most vulnerable are unprotected.”

“I am fully ready to push back against the Obama administration and its job-killing carbon regulations, which have a devastating impact on the economy and jobs.”

“He is such a fiscal conservative, he won’t even buy vowels for his last name.” (quoting Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery)

Felecia Rotellini speaks at the debate of Arizona Attorney General candidates at a forum sponsored by the Arizona Women Lawyers Association, Sept. 24, 2014.

Felecia Rotellini speaks at the debate of Arizona Attorney General candidates at a forum sponsored by the Arizona Women Lawyers Association, Sept. 24, 2014.

Rotellini:

“I want to return the Attorney General’s Office to its core mission; it should be an independent watchdog for the people. I worked to be sure mortgage fraud was made a criminal act.”

“I will take politics out of the office. When you’re in the trenches, you’re colorblind. There’s no red; there’s no blue.”

“It is important that the Attorney General not be an ideologue, and that the elected official appreciates the awesome power of the office.”

On rebuttal, the candidates became considerably more impassioned. In response to Rotellini comments, Brnovich told the audience that he is not an ideologue or an extremist.

Rotellini countered by discussing her opponent’s positions on pro-choice issues, SB1062, the Corrections Corporation of America, and Medicaid restoration, among other topics. She also mentioned the $700,000 in “dark money,” which she claims came from the Koch Brothers, which was spent in the primary in a successful effort to defeat incumbent Tom Horne.

Audience questions covered sex trafficking, same-sex marriage laws, lawsuits regarding federal mandates, and what changes each would make in the ranks of career prosecutors in the Attorney General’s Office.

Both candidates urged attendees to view all their positions on their respective websites:

Zwillinger Tahoe ride 2013

L to R: Zwillinger Greek & Knecht PC attorneys Andrew Breavington, Felecia Rotellini and Jamie Burgess after finishing their 100-mile ride on Sunday, June 2, 2013.

Last week, I wrote about a great team of lawyers and supporters who planned to pedal furiously in a 100-mile challenge. The beneficiary of their sweat and fundraising efforts was the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Today, I’m pleased to report that I received news about how the event went in the mountains around Lake Tahoe.

Here is what I heard about the remarkable ZBK Riders team (for Zwillinger Greek & Knecht PC), led by attorney Jamie Burgess.

  • On Sunday, June 2, everyone on the ZGK Riders team completed the 100-mile ride safely.
  • The eight other members of the team have (so far) collectively raised $40,107 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; Jamie Burgess raised another $47,295.
  • The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society honored Jamie Burgess at the ride as the third-highest fundraising cyclist in the United States this year.
  • So among all the team’s riders, they raised $87,402.

The team thanks the many members of the State Bar of Arizona who contributed generously to help fund LLS efforts to develop cures for blood cancers.

Congratulations to everyone involved!

Barbara Rodriguez Mundell

Yesterday’s Candidate Forum was informative—even if most of the people in the room had already mailed in their early ballot.

Despite that probability, the Arizona Women Lawyers Association packed a banquet room at the Phoenix Wyndham Hotel. Perhaps in a state where arts funding has been cut so severely, people are hungry for the only theater still yielding long runs—political theater.

The event was moderated by former Maricopa County Presiding Judge Barbara Rodriguez Mundell.

Attending were two candidates for Attorney General: Democrat Felecia Rotellini and Republican Tom Horne.

Terry Goddard

Also speaking was Democratic candidate for Governor Terry Goddard. Appearing for the Republican ticket was, well, no one.

That fact didn’t trouble Goddard, who opened with what must be a practiced line by now: “I’m happy to wait a few more minutes for the Governor to appear.” Today, he reminded the audience, would be the 15th public event (by his count) that Gov. Jan Brewer had declined to attend to wrestle with issues in the company of her adversary.

Felecia Rotellini

“No problem,” said Goddard with a smile. “I’ll be happy to take both sides.”

He said that job-creation had to be “Job One.” In addition, “We will never recover our economy as long as our schools are dead last in the nation.”

“We have to put all the crazy political games aside,” he continued. “We must get more result-oriented and less interested in what Fox News cares about.”

He poked fun at the Governor’s billboard ads, in which her face is superimposed over that of Rosie the Riveter, rolling up her sleeves.

“Never has Rosie been so maligned. She was getting the job done, while Jan Brewer was borrowing $200 million every month.”

Tom Horne

His largest laugh? When he said, “I promise this: To keep Arizona off Comedy Central for at least four years.”

Perhaps because the AG portion of the luncheon enjoyed the attendance of both opponents, the conversation had more law and less rhetoric.

Rotellini and Horne each detailed their goals for the office. Number 1 on both of their lists? Border security.

(Here is Mary Jo Pitzl’s far better account of yesterday’s forum, as it appears in the Arizona Republic.)

I’ll leave you with:

  • Tom Horne’s best line today: “When I appeared at the Ninth Circuit for the oral argument of Horne v. Flores, I introduced myself as schools superintendent—and as the shadow Attorney General, because our elected AG would not pursue the case.”
  • Felecia Rotellini’s best line today: “Voters don’t want the office used as a battering ram for political ideology. They want results. I am the only candidate who has prosecuted a criminal in Arizona.”

Here are a few photos from the event.

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