Arizona AG Brnovich Enters GOP Primary Seeking Sen. Mark Kelly's Seat Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich speaks at a news conference in Phoenix. (Bob Christie/AP)
By Charlie McCarthy | Friday, 11 June 2021 10:28 AM
State Attorney General Mark Brnovich, R-Ariz., will run in the 2022 Republican primary aiming to challenge incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz.
Brnovich, whom former President Donald Trump has criticized over the state’s ongoing 2020 election audit, announced his candidacy Thursday, AZ Central reported.
"Trust and freedom aren't just buzz words for me," Brnovich said in a written statement. "I'm a lifelong prosecutor and I've been honored to serve Arizona as Attorney General for two terms.
"Every day, I fight on behalf of Arizonans, going toe-to-toe with elected officials, bureaucrats, agencies, and corporations. I’ve spent my career taking on the hard fights."
Brnovich told Politico he had spoken with Trump and other Republican leaders about his run, calling them "good conversations." He declined to go into specifics on what was discussed.
The attorney general also did not say if he thought he could earn Trump's support.
Trump has blasted Brnovich for doing little regarding the ongoing review of 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County during last year’s presidential election, and for not talking about the "Rigged and Stolen" election, according to Newsweek.
"Arizona was a big part and Brnovich must put himself in gear, or no Arizona Republican will vote for him in the upcoming elections," Trump said. "They will never forget, and neither will the great Patriots of our Nation!"
Brnovich, a libertarian-leaning Republican who has been the state's top prosecutor since 2015, becomes the third person to enter the GOP race. Business owner Jim Lamon and Retired Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire also are running.
Republicans seeking to regain control of the U.S. Senate see Kelly’s seat as winnable. However, Politico said the GOP will need to navigate the intra-party divisions.
Brnovich already has proven (twice) he can win a statewide election.
A new campaign video highlights Brnovich's record as state attorney general, past career as a prosecutor, and his family's emigration to the U.S. from former communist Yugoslavia.
In an interview with AZ Central, Brnovich blasted Democrats' policies on the U.S.-Mexico border and COVID-19 financial relief packages.
"Mr. Kelly and I have a fundamental disagreement as to the size and scope of the federal government," Brnovich said. "I believe that governments are instituted to protect our rights, not give us our rights. I believe very strongly that you know, that we need to protect not only religious liberty, but our Second Amendment rights.
"I also believe that any time Washington, D.C. , you know, is collecting more taxes and spending more money, that's less money that families have the ability to spend on everything from, you know, their kids to their groceries."
Brnovich has been among state attorneys general who have mounted high-profile legal fights involving the Affordable Care Act, border security, and election laws.
A former state and federal prosecutor, Brnovich also has been Arizona’s former gaming director, the head of the Goldwater Institute’s Center for Constitutional Government, and a command staff judge advocate in the U.S. Army National Guard.
Once a Republican stronghold, Arizona currently is represented in the Senate by Kelly and fellow Democrat Kyrsten Sinema.