Tom Horne (Arizona)

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Thomas C. Horne
Tom Horne.jpg
Attorney General of Arizona
Former officeholder
In office
2011 – 2015
PredecessorTerry Goddard (D)
Base salary$90,000
Elections and appointments
Last electionAugust 26, 2014 (Attorney General Primary)
First electedNovember 2, 2010
Term limits2 consecutive terms
Prior offices
Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction
Arizona House of Representatives
Bachelor'sHarvard University
J.D.Harvard University School of Law
Date of birthMarch 28, 1945
Place of birthMontreal, Quebec, Canada
Office website
Personal website
Campaign website
Thomas C. Horne (born March 28, 1945, in Montreal, Canada) was the Attorney General of Arizona, the state's chief legal officer, from 2011 to 2015. Horne, a Republican, was narrowly elected to the position in the general election on November 2, 2010.[1] Horne was sworn the following January for his first and only four-year term.[2] Horne will hand over the office to his elected successor upon completing his first term, having lost his bid for re-election in 2014. He was ousted by Mark Brnovich in the Republican primary on August 26, 2014. Brnovich went on to win the open seat in the general election, and succeeded Horne as attorney general on January 5, 2015.[3]

Horne has served in all three branches of government. Immediately before becoming attorney general, Horne served as Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction from 2003 to 2011. Prior to that, he was a two term member of the Arizona House of Representatives.[4] Horne's legal experience includes over 30 years working in private practice as a litigating attorney. Over that period of time, he earned his judicial branch credits, holding the positions of Special Assistant Attorney General, Superior Court Judge Pro Tem and Court of Appeals Judge Pro Tem.

Horne switched his registration from Democratic to Republican in 1996 before his first election to the Arizona State Legislature.[5]

Beginning in February 2012, Horne went under FBI investigation for alleged campaign finance violations. The investigation stemmed from a complaint filed with then-Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett in which a volunteer from his 2010 attorney general campaign accused Horne of illegally coordinating with the group Business Leaders for Arizona, a supposedly independent contributor to Horne's campaign run by former Horne staffer Kathleen Winn.[6][7] The charges against Horne were dismissed in May 2013 by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Rea.[8]


After graduating with honors from Harvard University Law School in 1970, Horne entered into private legal practice. He remained a practicing litigating attorney for the next 30 years. Horne's resume contains service credits from every branch of government, as well as a publishing credit for authoring a legal text for the Arizona State Bar.[9] Other roles Horne occupies or has previously occupied include:

  • Member, Arizona Bar (1972-present)
  • Former Chair, Arizona Air Pollution Hearing
  • Former Chair, Phoenix Library Advisory Board
  • Board Member, Phoenix Symphony


  • Bachelor's degree, Harvard College (1967)
  • Juris Doctorate degree, Harvard University Law School (1970)

Political career

Arizona Attorney General (2011-2015)

Horne announced his candidacy for the statewide office of attorney general, the seat being vacated by Democrat Terry Goddard, in February 2010. Goddard chose to campaign for the governorship rather than seek re-election.[10] After a lengthy and bitter primary campaign in which both candidates routinely exchanged scathing criticisms of one another, the results for the election were so close that the ultimate outcome would not be known for some time after the polls closed. Despite speculation to the contrary, Andrew Thomas refused to concede the primary nomination to Horne until every single vote was counted, a process that continued for a nearly a week after Arizona voters went to the polls on Tuesday, August 24, 2010.[11][12][13] Finally, on Tuesday, September 1, he conceded the nomination to his primary opponent when, after all the votes had been recounted, it was determined that Horne had maintained a 899 vote lead over the former attorney.[14]

Mortgage settlement transfer

Arizona was awarded a $1.6 billion share - the third greatest, after California and Florida - of the $26 billion settlement from the 49 state lawsuit brought against 5 major mortgage institutions over nefarious lending practices. When the settlement was reached in February, 2012, the terms of how the pot would be distributed among, and within, the lawsuit's member states were laid out; Arizona was to direct $1.3 billion of its share to homeowners whose mortgage debts exceeded their homes' value, $110 million in payments for those who already lost their homes to lender misconduct, $85 million for interest rate reductions, and, finally, $97.7 million to go straight to the attorney general's office.[15] The $97.7 million, according to the language of the settlement, was reserved for the purposes of avoiding preventable foreclosures, easing the strain imposed on individuals and the economy by the foreclosure crisis, as well as prosecuting further related incidences of fraud.

Months later, Arizona lawmakers devised a plan to balance the budget via a governor-approved absorption of roughly half of that money into the state government's checking account.[16] Horne lobbied against the decision, calling it "bad public policy"[16]. Despite informing the legislature and Gov. Jan Brewer that the money was intended for the victims of the crisis, not for general government purposes, he pledged to voluntarily comply with the $50 million transfer. "It would be suicidal for me to get into a war with [them] over a matter that is clearly constitutionally within their area of responsibility, namely the budget,"[15] Horne confessed- a statement with which Tim Hogan, an attorney for the Center for Law in the Public Interest, disagreed. In a letter to the attorney general, Hogan wrote that neither the Legislature nor Horne, as the fund's Trustee, has the right to voluntarily give half of the court-ordered trust fund to the state General Fund.[17]

To legally justify the transfer, the bodies responsible for drawing up the budget invoked language from the settlement which permit a state to distill internally from the fund on the specific, necessary condition of compensating "for costs resulting from the alleged unlawful conduct of the defendants."[15] They reasoned the state was covered under this contingency because, "general tax collections plummeted when the housing bubble burst and brought on a recession."[17] Indeed, the crisis wreaked havoc on the state economy, but Hogan contended that provision was not broad enough to include the general costs of government and sought to block the transfer. Horne said he would oppose efforts like Hogan's, and, barring an injunction, intended to proceed with turning over the $50 million to the treasurer on July, 1, 2012, which began the next fiscal year. The money was putatively destined for prison construction.[17]

FBI investigation of 2010 campaign-finance complaint

On February 11, 2012, a former Horne campaign volunteer and lawyer from the attorney general's Tucson office named Don Dybus filed a complaint with Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett alleging that Horne violated state campaign laws during his election campaign for attorney general in 2010.[6] The FBI was charged with investigating the complaint, which contended that Horne flouted the state's law prohibiting coordination between campaigns and independent expenditure committees, and accused Horne of making a felonious deal with campaign supporter Kathleen Winn, promising her a post-election job in exchange for her alleged services as a coordinator of several of the cited illicit arrangements.[18]

In his complaint, Dybus said Horne collaborated with manager Nathan Sproul of the firm Lincoln Strategy, independent committee Business Leaders for Arizona, and Winn, who was the committee's Chairwoman, to arrange a $115,000 contribution to Business Leaders for Arizona from Horne's brother-in-law in Santa Monica, California. Dybus also accused Lincoln Strategy of facilitating a $350,000 contribution to the independent committee from the Republican State Leadership Committee in Virginia. The independent committee implicated by Dybus reportedly spent roughly $500,000[19] on a series of advertisements smearing Horne's general election opponent Felecia Rotellini (D), whom Horne narrowly defeated in November 2011.[6]

After Horne took office as attorney general, he hired Winn to serve as his Director of Community Outreach, a high-paid position within the office. As revealed in the Arizona Capitol Times, Dybus called for Winn to be removed from the payroll, and urged Gov. Jan Brewer to replace Horne: “This is a matter of grave concern to all citizens of Arizona who should not tolerate a law-breaking attorney general."[19]

A spokeswoman from his office relayed Horne's explicit denial of any wrongdoing, insisting "the fact is that extraordinary care was exercised to avoid coordination,"[19] and referring to Dybus as "disgruntled."[6]

Healthcare reform

See also: State Attorneys General Against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010

In mid-September 2010, Horne, who, at the time, was in the midst of his campaign for state attorney general, announced his endorsement of Proposition 106 - The Arizona Health Insurance Reform Amendment, which would amend the State Constitution by barring any rules or regulations that would force state residents to participate in a health-care system.[20] In addition to this, the amendment would also ensure that individuals would have the right to pay for private health insurance.[21] On Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010, Arizona Proposition 106 passed with slightly over fifty-five percent of the public who voted on the measure approving it.

As part of his campaign, Horne promised to join the twenty-plus other state attorneys general in challenging the constitutionality of the newly enacted federal health care reform measures, in particular the "individual mandate" that requires all citizens to purchase health insurance.[22]

Presidential preference


See also: Endorsements by state officials of presidential candidates in the 2012 election

Tom Horne (Arizona) endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. [23]

Superintendent of Public Instruction (2002-2010)

Ethics Studies

Horne spoke strongly before the Arizona State Legislature in favor of the passage of Senate Bill 1069, which would ban ethnic-studies courses from the state's high schools. Under the law, "a district or charter school that allows such courses would lose 10 percent of its state funds each month;" the money, however, would be returned once the programs had been shuttered. The State Superintendent argued that it is the responsibility of the public schools "to develop the student's identity as Americans and as strong individuals" rather then to "promote ethnic chauvinism."[24]

On Thursday, April 29, 2010, the Arizona House of Representatives passed the ban on ethnic studies programs in the state by a vote of 32 - 26. The measure made it "illegal for a school district to teach any courses that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, promote resentment of a particular race or class of people, are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group or "advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals."[25]

Illegal immigration

As State Superintendent, Horne was cited on record for supporting the use of $1.2 billion annually from Arizona taxpayers to pay for educating the children of illegal immigrants. Additionally, he called for a plan in which high school graduates who are in the United States illegally would be granted citizenship upon passing a simple standardized test.[26] Critics argued, however, that this would only serve as an incentive for immigrants to break the law.

In April 2009, Horne opposed a bill "that would have Arizona schools ask students whether they were in the country legally."[27][28] The legislation was designed specifically to serve as a legal challenge to the 1982 Supreme Court case, Plyler vs. Doe, that prohibited public schools from denying illegal immigrant students access to a public education.[29]

State Legislature (1996-2000)

Horne was first elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 1996 and ultimately served two terms in office. During his tenure, he served as both the chairman of the Academic Accountability Committee and vice chairman of the Education Committee.


Near the end of his tenure as a member of the Arizona House of Representatives, Horne voted against House Bill 2708, which closed a legislative loophole by banning "taxpayer funding for abortion."[30]

School Choice

While serving in the state legislature, Horne opposed Arizona House Bill 2074 (HB 2074), also known as the Arizona Tuition Tax Credit Law.[31] The measure, passed by the Arizona House of Representatives in 1997, allowed state taxpayers up to a $500.00 tax credit if they chose to donate to a private school scholarship fund. In addition to reducing state tax liability of private citizens, it facilitated parents more flexibility when choosing educational options for their children.



See also: Arizona attorney general election, 2014

Horne ran unsuccessfully for re-election as Attorney General of Arizona in 2014.[3][32] He failed to secure the Republican nomination in the primary on August 26, 2014, losing to challenger Mark Brnovich. The general election took place November 4, 2014.


Primary election
Arizona Attorney General, Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngMark Brnovich 53.7% 279,855
Tom Horne Incumbent 46.3% 240,858
Total Votes 520,713
Election Results via Arizona Secretary of State.

Race background

Incumbent Tom Horne, a Republican first elected in 2010, lost his bid for renomination in the August 26 Republican primary, creating an open seat race for the general election.[33]

Midway through his first term as attorney general, Horne found himself the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation stemming from an alleged hit-and-run incident. This investigation along with a rumored extra-marital affair led Horne to forgo his long-anticipated gubernatorial campaign in favor of seeking another term in his current post.[34] These scandals led Governing to rate Arizona's attorney general seat as "vulnerable" to partisan switch in the 2014 elections.

Horne's controversy-riddled first term gave way to the incumbent's six-point ousting by sole Republican challenger Mark Brnovich in the party's primary. Brnovich, the former director of the Arizona Department of Gaming, faced 2010 gubernatorial candidate and Assistant Attorney General Felecia Rotellini in the general election.[33]

Although Arizona tends to vote Republican, especially at the state level, Democrats placed considerable hopes in Rotellini early on in the election season. Rotellini's background as superintendent of the state Department of Financial Institutions signaled to party leaders that she had strong potential as a fundraiser and thus a chance in the race to succeed Horne as Arizona's chief legal official.[34] She was ultimately defeated by Brnovich, ensuring the attorney general's office would remain under Republican control.


Felecia Rotellini earned the endorsement of the Arizona Daily Star prior to the general election.[35]


General election polls

Arizona Attorney General, General election
Poll Mark Brnovich (R) Felecia Rotellini (D)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Moore Information
October 7-8, 2014
Arizona Free Enterprise Club
October 13-16, 2014
American Encore
October 20-22, 2014
AVERAGES 42.67% 39.67% 16.33% +/-4.47 500.33
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Primary polls

Arizona Attorney General, Republican primary
Poll Mark Brnovich Tom Horne*UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Magellan Strategies
July 9-10, 2014
Gravis Marketing
July 14, 2014
Harper Polling
August 19-20, 2014
AVERAGES 41% 30.33% 29% +/-3.82 698.67
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Note: An asterisk (*) denotes incumbent status.


See also: Arizona Attorney General election, 2010
2010 Race for Attorney General - Republican Primary[36]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Tom Horne 50.1%
     Republican Party Andrew Thomas 49.9%
Total Votes 552,623
2010 Race for Attorney General - General Election[37]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Tom Horne 51.9%
     Democratic Party Felecia Rotellini 48.1%
Total Votes 1,677,668


  • 2006 Race for Superintendent of Public Instruction - Republican Primary[38]
  • Tom Horne ran unopposed in this contest
2006 Race for Superintendent of Public Instruction - General Election[39]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Tom Horne 53.7%
     Democratic Party Jason Williams 46.3%
Total Votes 1,454,587


2002 Race for Superintendent of Public Instruction - Republican Primary[40]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Tom Horne 41.2%
     Republican Party Jaime Molera 30.3%
     Republican Party Keith Bee 28.5%
Total Votes 293,444
2002 Race for Superintendent of Public Instruction - General Election[41]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Tom Horne 50.1%
     Democratic Party Jay Blanchard 46.3%
     Libertarian Party John C. Zajac 3.6%
Total Votes 1,166,849


1998 Race for Arizona House of Representatives, District 24 - Republican Primary[42]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Tom Horne 58.7%
     Republican Party Approveda Barbara Leff 41.3%
Total Votes 9,601
1998 Race for Arizona House of Representatives, District 24 - General Election[43]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Tom Horne 34.9%
     Republican Party Approveda Barbara Leff 32.1%
     Democratic Party Jacqueline Gasser 16.7%
     Democratic Party Chris Klein 16.3%
Total Votes 59,564


1996 Race for Arizona House of Representatives, District 24 - Republican Primary[44]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Tom Horne 24.9%
     Republican Party Approveda Barbara Leff 22.4%
     Republican Party Lindy Funkhouser 22.0%
     Republican Party Kathryn Bailue 15.3%
     Republican Party Howard Sprague 10.1%
     Republican Party C. Rosenstock 3.2%
     Republican Party Angelo DeSimone 2.1%
Total Votes 18,141
1996 Race for Arizona House of Representatives, District 24 - General Election[45]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Tom Horne 31.3%
     Republican Party Approveda Barbara Leff 30.5%
     Democratic Party Lynne Sisson 18.2%
     Democratic Party Chris Alter 15.8%
     Libertarian Party Jim Hamilton 4.3%
Total Votes 88,999

Campaign donors

Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Tom Horne's donors each year.[46] Click [show] for more information.


Speeding tickets

In addition to receiving six speeding tickets from law enforcement officials over an eighteen month period, including one in a school zone, Horne was issued a criminal citation for violating A.R.S. 28-701.02 A2 on Sunday, October 21, 2007 by the Scottsdale Police Department.[47][48] The charge came with a maximum possible sentence of six months in jail, three years probation, and a $2,500 fine. Three months later, Horne's lawyer was able to negotiate a plea bargain with the Scottsdale prosecutor, who agreed to drop the criminal traffic offense charge in exchange for Horne pleading guilty to a civil offense for violating A.R.S. 28-701A, a charge that normally applies to drivers going 16 to 20 miles per hour above the speed limit; Horne was cited for going 27 miles per hour over the 45 mph speed limit.


In annual reports filed between 1997 and 2000 on behalf of his private law firm, Horne denied ever having been a partner in a business that went bankrupt. The truth of the matter, however, was that Horne was the president of T.C. Horne & Co., an investment firm created in the late-1960s that went bankrupt in 1970. Three years later, the future attorney general was sanctioned by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charging that he had "willfully aided and abetted" his firm in violating securities laws by submitting false balance sheets and misrepresenting his firm's assets. He was eventually barred for life from associating with brokers, dealers, investment advisers, and investment companies. Horne's Republican primary challenger, Andrew Thomas, contended that "the circumstances surrounding the bankruptcy should disqualify Horne from holding the state's top law-enforcement job."[49]


Horne currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife, Martha. The couple has had four children together - Susan, Mary, David, and Mark.[9]

Contact information


Capitol Address:
Attorney General Tom Horne
Office of the Attorney General
1275 West Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007

Phone: (602) 542-5025
Toll Free Phone: (800) 352-8431 (toll free in State of Arizona, outside Maricopa and Pima Counties)
Fax: (602) 542-4085

Recent news

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See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. The Arizona Republic, "Tom Horne's narrow attorney general victory finishes GOP sweep of Arizona" 11 Nov. 2010
  2. Arizona Attorney General, "About the Office," accessed June 11, 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 Arizona Republic, "Rotellini to run for Arizona AG in ‘14," February 25, 2013
  4. Office of the Arizona Attorney General, "AG Horne's Biography," accessed June 6, 2011
  5., "Attorney General Candidate Tom Horne," accessed October 16, 2012
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 The Daily Courier, "Arizona Attorney General accused of breaking laws in 2010 campaign," April 2, 2012
  7. The Business Journal, "FBI investigating Arizona attorney general Tom Horne," April 2, 2012
  8. Arizona Daily Sun, "Judge throws out charges against AG Tom Horne," May 3, 2013
  9. 9.0 9.1 Arizona Attorney General, "AG Horne's Bio," accessed February 6, 2012 (dead link)
  10. Seeing Red Arizona, "AZ’s Attorney General’s race: Tom Horne makes intentions official" 19 Feb. 2010
  11. Phoenix New Times, "Andrew Thomas Set To Concede, Sources Claim; Will Make Statement This Afternoon" 27 Aug. 2010
  12. Tucson Citizen, "Andrew Thomas prepares to concede to Tom Horne" 27 Aug. 2010
  13. The Arizona Republic, "Horne's lead over Thomas in AG race down to 536 votes" 27 Aug. 2010
  14. Arizona Daily Star, "Thomas concedes, backs Horne for AG" 1 Sept. 2010
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 The Arizona Star, "AG Horne to defend state's raiding of mortgage-relief funds," May 9, 2012
  16. 16.0 16.1 CBS News, "AG urged to disobey law on housing cash," May 9, 2012 (dead link)
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 AZ Central, "Horne ignores lawsuit threat over mortgage funds," May 9, 2012
  18. The Business Journal, "FBI investigating Arizona attorney general Tom Horne," April 2, 2012
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Arizona Capitol Times, "FBI investigating Horne for campaign violations," April 2, 2012
  20. Tom Horne for Attorney General, "Horne Endorses Proposition 106 - Healthcare Freedom Act" 16 Sept. 2010
  21. Arizona Republic, "Arizona ballot measure sought on health care choices" 27 May, 2009
  22. KGUN9 "Judge rules against key part of health care reform" 13 Dec. 2010 (dead link)
  23. Mitt Romney for President, "Mitt Romney Announces Support of Additional Arizona Elected Officials," February 2, 2012
  24. AZ Central, "Arizona schools superintendent pushes ban on ethnic studies" 12 June, 2009
  25. FOX News, "Arizona Legislature Passes Bill to Curb 'Chauvanism' in Ethnic Studies Programs" 30 April, 2010
  26. East Valley Tribune, "Arizona taxpayers spend up to $1.2 billion annually to educate children of illegal immigrants" 17 Feb. 2007
  27. Arizona Daily Star, "Sheriffs: Are you in school legally?" 28 April, 2009
  28. Sonoran Alliance, "Tom Horne Runs From Amnesty But Can’t Hide Support" 11 June, 2010
  29. Oyez - Plyler v. Doe summary
  30. Lighthouse Blog, "Why hasn't Tom Horne for AG caught on with Republicans?" 9 March, 2009
  31. Sonoran Alliance, "Thomas Will Defend AZ School Choice Issue Now Before U.S. Supreme Court Horne Opposed" 25 May, 2010
  32. Arizona Republic, "All eyes on 2014 race for governor," November 11, 2012
  33. 33.0 33.1, "Arizona Election Results," accessed August 27, 2014 (dead link)
  34. 34.0 34.1 Governing, "The 2013-2014 Attorneys General Races: Who's Vulnerable?," March 25, 2013
  35. Arizona Daily Star, "Endorsement: Rotellini for attorney general," October 9, 2014
  36. Arizona Secretary of State - Official Results of 2010 Primary Election
  37. Arizona Secretary of State - 2010 General Election Results
  38. Arizona Secretary of State - Official Results of 2006 Primary Election
  39. Arizona Secretary of State - Official Results of 2006 General Election
  40. Arizona Secretary of State - Official Results of 2002 Primary Election
  41. Arizona Secretary of State - Official Results of 2002 General Election
  42. Arizona Secretary of State - Official Results of 1998 Primary Election
  43. Arizona Secretary of State - Official Results of 1998 General Election
  44. Arizona Secretary of State - Official Results of 1996 Primary Election
  45. Arizona Secretary of State - Official Results of 1996 General Election
  46. Follow the
  47. The Arizona Republic, "Horne has gotten 6 speeding tickets in past 1 1/2 years" 21 Aug. 2009
  48. Sonoran Alliance, "Andrew Thomas Reduced Plea Bargains; Tom Horne Agreed To One" 8 June, 2010
  49. The Arizona Republic, "Attorney-general candidate Tom Horne denied 1970 bankruptcy" 20 June, 2010

Political offices
Preceded by
Terry Goddard (D)
Arizona Attorney General
Succeeded by
Mark Brnovich (R)
Preceded by
Jaime Molera
Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction
Succeeded by
John Huppenthal (R)