Mark Brnovich Announces Bid for US Senate. Here’s What He Did as Arizona’s Attorney General

In this Nov. 4, 2014, file photo, Arizona Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich waves to supporters at the Republican election night party in Phoenix. Brnovich said Friday, July 26, 2019, that Arizona is poised to resume executions after a five-year hiatus brought on by an execution that critics said was botched, a subsequent lawsuit challenging the way the state carries out the death penalty, and the difficulty of finding lethal injection drugs. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

By Ryan Knappenberger

June 29, 2021

The seat has been held by three people since Sen. John McCain’s death, two Republican and one Democrat.

Sen. Mark Kelly’s term ends in 2022, and Arizona Republicans have already begun scrambling to challenge him for Sen. John McCain’s old seat. 

At the top of the Republican camp is Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who announced his candidacy on June 10. Brnovich has long been a figure in the state’s legal system; he began working for the Arizona Attorney General’s Office in 1998 and was elected as Attorney General in 2014.

In a video announcing his candidacy, Brnovich described himself as a defender of Arizonan’s rights who stood against “government overreach … woke corporations … crony capitalists” and “defended religious liberty … our border.”

As of June 22, Brnovich will face at least three other candidates in the Republican primary: solar-power businessman Jim Lamon, retired adjutant general of the Arizona National Guard Michael McGuire, and software engineer Robert Paveza. 

Brnovich, while a staunch conservative, has gained the ire of former President Donald Trump and his loyalists for not supporting Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of election fraud. Recently he has come out in support of the Arizona Senate Republican-run election audit, defending it on Newsmax and Fox News. 

As Attorney General, Brnovich has weighed in on a number of issues throughout his time in office that can provide some perspective on how he would represent Arizona were he elected to the Senate.

Border Issues

Brnovich, like many Arizona conservatives, has made the southern border a sticking point of his campaign. 

As Attorney General, Brnovich sued the Biden Administration multiple times over changes made to immigration policy. In May, Brnovich filed a preliminary injunction over new guidelines for the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement that would decrease deportations. 

“The Biden administration and its radical allies are effectively abolishing ICE through administrative acts,” Brnovich said in response to the new guidelines.

Brnovich also moved against Biden’s decisions to reverse Trump-era border policies, such as the border wall and the so-called “Remain in Mexico” policy. Brnovich argued that the reversals violated the National Environmental Policy Act because it did not “carefully weigh environmental considerations” beforehand. 

Election Rules

Brnovich has agreed with some of the restrictive voting legislation the state passed both before and after the 2020 election, although he has not bought into the rhetoric that its results were stolen from former President Donald Trump.

Most recently, Brnovich defended two restrictive Arizona laws before the Supreme Court in a suit that argues the ban on ballot collection—the gathering and submission of completed ballots by a third party — and out-of-precinct voting are racially discriminatory.  

In Brnovich v. DNC, he has argued the laws defend against fraud and have no intention of racial discrimination or a substantial enough impact to be considered discriminatory.

Gun Rights

Brnovich has come out a number of times to oppose tighter gun restrictions around the country and the state. In 2017, the state Supreme Court found a Tucson law went against a law that banned local governments from passing tighter gun restrictions than the state. 

Brnovich sued the city in order to have the law revoked, calling it a “huge victory for the rule of law.”

Outside of the state, he has joined with other conservative Attorneys General to oppose gun restrictions, including a New Jersey law that restricted citizens from carrying a gun outside of their home without just cause. 

“New Jersey lawmakers are operating in total ignorance of our ability to protect ourselves and our families,” Brnovich said in a May 28 press release.

The Republican primary will be held August 2, 2022 and the general election on November 8, 2022.


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