I posted, not four hours ago, about Andrew Thomas' latest efforts to smear Tom Horne, a fellow Republican running in the primary for the attorney general race. Thomas' campaign has apparently funded a slew of campaign posters and a website that pretty much charge Horne with being the worst person in the world.
I was able to get Tom Horne on the phone and by email this afternoon for a comment on Thomas' underhanded tactics to paint Horne as "too liberal" for conservative voters.
The sign pictured above accuses Horne of supporting taxpayer funding of abortion. Horne responds: "That is a lie. I have never been for taxpayer funded abortions. I am pledged to enforce all abortion laws. As a legislator I voted to restrict abortion, such as to ban partial birth abortion and to require parental consent."
When I called to ask for a clarification on his vote on HB 2708, Horne responded that taxpayer funding of abortion was "already banned" when HB 2708 came up for a vote. Horne further explains that he voted "no" on HB 2708 because he "had technical problems with the bill, which itself made technical changes to a ban [against publicly-funded abortions] that was already in effect" but that he had no problems with the spirit of the bill itself. Horne reiterated his pledge to support all anti-abortion laws in the state of Arizona.
Which is, if you think about it, kind of ironic since he's telling all this to a progressive, feminist, pro-choice blogger. But, y'know, whatever.
As far as Thomas' attempts to smear Horne's conservative street cred, Horne recognized that negative campaigning is part of politics, but he said, "even if a campaign goes negative, it should be truthful. [Thomas] made all this up."
In response to the attack campaign launched by Thomas against Horne, Horne cited a letter from the Republican National Commitee that documents a history of Thomas using attack ads to smear his political opponents (read the .pdf here). Horne has put up a counterattack website at TheAndyThomasTruth.com. According to the website, Thomas is described as still being under federal investigation, and that a court remarked that Thomas' actions as a prosecutor have the "appearance of evil." Thomas also apparently hates women.
This looks like we're gearing up for an all-out war on the Republican side for the position of attorney general. Clearly, there's no love lost between Thomas and Horne. It remains to be determined whether or not the Arizona Illustrated debate scheduled between these two candidates next week will touch on these negative attacks.
Negative campaigning is part of politics, and it can be a useful tactic in distinguishing oneself from one's opponent: but there's also a danger that the hateful back-and-forth will drive independent voters away from either candidate (particularly in the general election), and towards the candidate of the other political party.
Oh, hey -- on a completely unrelated note -- did you know that there are three Democrats running in the primary for attorney general? They are, in no particular order: Vince Rabago, Felicia Rotellini, and David Lujan. And there's been very little sniping between these candidates on the Democratic side; these folks are so friendly towards each other, their debates have been practically boring. Wow, how about that?