PHOENIX (CN) – A Superior Court judge rejected a lawsuit from a Republican candidate for attorney general, who wants to stop Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio from attacking him in televised campaign ads. Tom Horne, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, claimed Arpaio’s ads falsely claimed that “Tom Horne favors amnesty for illegal immigrants, which could cost taxpayers billions.” Arpaio spent more than $317,000 on the ads, from the sheriff’s own campaign fund, Horne claimed.
Horne sued Arpaio on Monday in Maricopa County Court, claiming that the “advertisements constitute a contribution in kind to candidate Andrew Thomas, who is running against plaintiff Horne.”
Horne’s opponent in the primary, former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, is an Arpaio ally. Arpaio, who achieved national fame from his anti-immigrant raids and rough treatment of prisoners, is not facing re-election until 2012.
In his lawsuit, Horne said that Arpaio’s claim that his ads are for the purpose of his own re-election reasons is a “sham on its face, as an advertisement that was taken out for the purpose of urging the re-election of defendant Arpaio would have no conceivable purpose in attacking plaintiff Horne, who currently holds no office that could affect that sheriff in any way.”
But Superior Court Judge John Buttrick wrote, “this court will not read a remedy into the election statutes that the Legislature presumably intentionally decided to omit.” Neither Thomas nor the 2010 Republican primary are mentioned in the commercials, Buttrick wrote.
Horne claimed the ads cost more than $317,000 and were “coordinated with the campaign of Andrew Thomas.”
Horne’s complaint continues: “Thomas’ advertisements are all on cable; Arpaio is spending $317,000 this week all on broadcast. The maximum permissible contribution to Andrew Thomas, who is running as a ‘Clean Elections’ candidate, is $140.”
Arpaio paid for the ads with campaign money donated for his reelection, according to Horne’s complaint. It adds: “Arizona statutes prohibit a candidate from using funds contributed by others for his campaign as a contribution to another campaign.” Nonetheless, Judge Buttrick tossed the case.