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Updated Aug 27, 2014 - 11:50 am

Attorney General Tom Horne loses Arizona GOP primary

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne speaks during an interview saying prosecutor Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk's decision to overrule an administrative law judge's decision shows she just couldn't take losing the case and who reinstated a campaign finance case against him is a sore loser, on Thursday, May 15, 2014, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX -- Arizona will have a new attorney general come November.

Embattled incumbent Attorney General Tom Horne lost to former state gaming department director and prosecutor Mark Brnovich in the Tuesday primary, though he did not concede until just before noon Wednesday.

Horne has been dogged for three years by allegations of campaign-finance violations, an FBI investigation stating he had an affair and a hit-and-run where he pleaded no contest. He's consistently denied the campaign finance charges and was cleared in the case. A later complaint was filed.

He also said if he had known he damaged the other vehicle in a minor parking lot accident he would have left a note. Horne said he was "backing out of a parking space" on March 27, 2012 and he "backed into someone else's bumper."

Brnovich and his backers asked voters to throw the state's top law enforcement officer out of office. Brnovich has said Horne has "created a culture of corruption within the attorney general's office."

Horne's legal problems cost him support among the GOP establishment, with prominent politicians such as Gov. Jan Brewer and former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl endorsing Brnovich over the incumbent.

"It has been my experience that doing the right thing often means doing the hard thing," Brewer said in a statement released by Brnovich's campaign. "That's why I look for candidates with the courage of conviction to stand for Arizona and who are willing to stand up against the Obama Administration."

Horne said he believed voters should look past unfounded complaints against him and look at his record.

"I think the voters are interested in the actual achievements," Horne said in an interview last week. "I personally argued two Supreme Court cases, one of which established our right to require evidence of citizenship to vote, the other of which limited federal interference in state courts enforcing our criminal laws."

He also pointed to a bank settlement over foreclosures that brought in $2 billion that bolstered state coffers and helped keep people in their homes, and his work expanding consumer protections and creating a child sex-trafficking task force.

Scottsdale resident Donald Shelley said Tuesday that he voted for Horne despite his legal woes.

"I weighed the controversy and tried to weigh what's really political mudslinging versus what is personal," Shelley said. "I support conservative candidates."

Brnovich has said Horne hasn't been vigorous enough in fighting federal mandates such as new clear air rules for coal-fired power plants that could harm the state's power supply, new clean water act rules and endangered species regulations. He said if elected he will aggressively fight federal government overreach and work to prosecute drug cartels and protect the unborn and elderly.

On Monday, Brnovich said he believed he was going to score a rare win against an incumbent.

"I like the position we're in -- I think all the hard work is going to pay off," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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