In this week's Tucson Weekly's endorsements, we went with Felecia Rotellini as the Democratic candidate to support for Attorney General. One reason: As of the print deadline, Democrat and former AG Vince Rabago hadn't qualified for Clean Elections funding, "which makes us worried that he doesn't have the organization to compete statewide," we said.
However, at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 27, Rabago's campaign sent us an e-mail letting us know that he had just filed more than 3,200 $5 donations to qualify for Clean Elections funds.
I was disappointed that this happened as we went to press, because I would have loved the Weekly to have endorsed Rabago. I know from professional experience that he is a highly ethical attorney and candidate. He grew up in Douglas and understands our region's challenges. I also think that Rabago is also the best qualified for the job, having worked for the AG's office and the cases he has taken to court prove he has stood up for the people of Arizona. When you talk with him, you immediately understand that he took that role pretty seriously.
While the Weekly endorsement of Rotellini stands, don't give up on Rabago. Here's the press release his campaign issued Tuesday:
Vince Rabago Files 3,200 $5 Donations to Qualify for Clean Elections Funding
As Arizona's Next Attorney General, Rabago Will Continue Career of Prosecuting Dangerous Criminals and Protecting Consumers
PHOENIX — Former Assistant Attorney General Vince Rabago filed more than 3,200 $5 donations today, from voters in every district across the state, to qualify for Clean Elections funds in his race for Arizona Attorney General. Rabago is seeking the Democratic nomination for Attorney General in the August 24th Primary.
"My opponents in the Democratic primary, Rotellini and Lujan, are two Capitol insiders who are much too close to the special interests and powerful lobbyists that have run Arizona into the ditch," stated Rabago. "We don't need a career politician as our next Attorney General, we need a proven prosecutor."
"As the only non-establishment candidate, I am the underdog in this primary. But today's filing assures I will have the resources to compete and win on Aug 24th."
"David Lujan, the other Clean candidate, is too immersed in old politics of careful calculation and poll-tested positions to win. He didn't have the guts to vote one way or the other on SB1070 when it came before the House, despite his supposed role as Democratic Leader," added Rabago. "As a leader, I would not only have voted No on 1070, because it is the wrong solution to a serious problem and will do nothing to secure our borders, I would have fulfilled my leadership obligations to do everything possible to either amend it or kill it before it ever reached the Governor's desk. As Attorney General, you don't get to take a walk on tough decisions."
"Democrats need a candidate in the fall who has the courage to stand up and fight for what's right — and stand up against the ideological bullies — as I did in my public statement against 1070 before it was signed into law and in my public statements against Russell Pearce's latest mission to deny birthright citizenship and create a two-tier system in our public schools."
"Our qualification for Clean Elections funding also assures we will have the resources to take down Andy Thomas or Tom Horne in the General Election, something Felicia Rotellini cannot count on," added Campaign Manager Gilberto Zaragoza. "It has taken her nearly a year to raise the amount she's raised to date, and she's burning through it at a pretty fast clip. In this environment, how would she possibly raise the amount needed for the General in just eight weeks?"
Vince Rabago brings 20 years' experience fighting for the people and protecting vulnerable citizens to his campaign for Arizona Attorney General, including the last 16 years as a public prosecutor in the Offices of the Arizona and California Attorneys General, working in both the civil and criminal divisions.
In 2009, Rabago investigated and brought a major fraud lawsuit against out-of-state payday lender QuikCash for deceptive collection practices. Despite what opponent Rotellini claimed during the televised Democratic candidate debate sponsored by Clean Elections, Rabago successfully obtained a court injunction to immediately stop QuikCash's deceptive collection practices across the state.
Over his career as a public prosecutor, Vince Rabago has been on the front lines of many of the issues that Arizona's next Attorney General will need to deal with, such as mortgage and student loan fraud, multi-state financial fraud, online safety and privacy, foreclosure rescue scams, and the battle against unscrupulous payday lenders.
"I have spent my entire career dedicated to protecting consumers, targeting scammers, and making sure dangerous criminals never again walk the streets," stated Rabago. "As the only candidate to have prosecuted death penalty cases at the highest levels of our court system, I have the tough-on-crime credentials and experience that nobody else in this race has. Furthermore, as someone born and raised in Douglas, Arizona, I won't be lectured by anyone on border security or the other issues facing our border communities."
Concluded Rabago, "If Democrats want a candidate who has the courage to beat Tom Horne or Andy Thomas in November, and the chops and know-how to get things done as AG, I'm their candidate."