Election 2018: Arizona Attorney General

The race for the State's top lawyer has been classified as a battleground race

While the nation’s eyes are on Arizona’s Congressional elections as the Republican majority hangs in the balance, a number of key state positions are also squaring up to be tight races. 

One of the those, referred to by Ballotpedia as a battleground race, is the race for Arizona Attorney General between Republican incumbent Mark Brnovich and his Democratic challenger January Contreras. 

The Attorney General is the chief legal officer of Arizona and is mandated by the state constitution. 

They are elected every four years and represent and provide legal advice to most state agencies. They enforce consumer protection and civil rights laws and prosecute criminals for complex financial crimes and certain conspiracies involving illegal drugs, according to the AG website. 

If you want to check out other races to watch in Arizona, you can find those here.

Mark Brnovich (Republican)

Gage Skidmore | Courtesy

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich speaks at the 2016 Leadership Series in Glendale, Arizona, on Friday, Aug. 5, 2016.

The incumbent candidate was first elected to office in 2014 and has been the topic of an extensive negative ad-campaign by proponents of Proposition 127, a measure that would amend the Arizona constitution to mandate an increase to 50 percent renewable energy by 2030.

Read more: ASU contributes to the debate on clean energy initiative

One part of the campaign seizes on a change Brnovich made to the proposition after it was already proposed. The campaigns allege that the language of the initiative misleads voters.

Brnovich has sued one of the main proponents of the "Yes on 127" campaign, progressive billionaire Tom Steyer, as well as the group he funds, Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona. Brnovich alleges that the ads aim to undermine his reelection campaign. 

Another notable case to ASU students is a lawsuit Brnovich filed against the Arizona Board of Regents which claims  unfair tuition increases and that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients are not eligible for in-state tuition.

The lawsuit states "ABOR has no statutory obligation to provide 'nearly free' education to any class of non-residents."

Read more: Arizona Attorney General files appeal in ABOR tuition lawsuit

On his website, Brnovich lists other key points like the importance of the state-wide position being nonpartisan, and said that he will uphold that ideal if he is reelected. 

He also said he has shown efficacy in his first term in office. Some of the key cases he was involved in include settlements with Theranos and Uber and criminal convictions — stressing his part in convicting an ISIS inspired teenager

January Contreras (Democrat)

January Contreras | Courtesy

 January Contreras, the Democratic candidate for Attorney General poses for a photo.

Democratic candidate January Contreras is a graduate of the UA. She was a deputy Maricopa County attorney before she became assistant state attorney general in 2000, among other positions in public service.

She was most recently the CEO and a managing attorney for the nonprofit legal aid foundation Arizona Legal Women and Youth Services, which she left in 2017 to launch her campaign. 

Her campaign is focused heavily on criticizing Brnovich and painting his record as bad for Arizonans, as well as highlighting some of her key accomplishments in her career. 

On her website, she states that she fights for Arizona in her capacity as a prosecutor and a legal aid and claims that Brnovich has abused the office of the Attorney General by pursuing political interests, citing lawsuits he filed on issues including healthcare, mining rights and sexual assault investigation procedures on universities. 


 Reach the reporter at isaac.windes@asu.edu or follow @isaacdwindes on Twitter.

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