PHOENIX – Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich on Thursday announced he is running for the United States Senate, becoming the third major candidate for the Republican nomination to face Democrat Mark Kelly.
Brnovich, who is in his second term as the state’s top law enforcement official, is the best-known GOP candidate and the only one with political experience.
In a video ad, Brnovich described himself as the son of immigrants who fled communism in Yugoslavia. He says he used his post as attorney general to attack “friendly capitalists” and government excess, while promoting religious freedom, border security and electoral integrity.
“We need a conservative from Arizona to Washington who stands up for us and stands up for our values,” Brnovich said in the video. “Someone who’s been tested. Someone who won’t run and hide at the first sign of trouble.
Brnovich has drawn the ire of former President Donald Trump, which could turn out to be a major handicap in an overcrowded GOP primary. Trump has repeatedly called Brnovich “lackluster” and said he was “nowhere to be found” in support of the audit of Maricopa County election results by Republicans in the state Senate.
Trump and many of his most loyal supporters have clung to discredited allegations of widespread electoral fraud in Arizona and elsewhere, which they say cost him his re-election. Brnovich, Gov. Doug Ducey and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs certified Arizona election results showing a narrow victory for Democrat Joe Biden.
“Our country needs Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who has done little so far on voter integrity and the 2020 presidential scam, to escalate it,” Trump wrote in a statement to Beginning of the month.
Brnovich downplayed the importance of the presidential feud, saying he can’t worry about what other people are doing.
“I want this race to be about me, what I believe in and what I stand for,” Brnovich said in a brief interview. “The media is so focused on the things that no one can control. They don’t want to focus on what I stand for, what I believe in and what record I have.
Solar energy entrepreneur Jim Lamon and retired Air Force Major General Michael “Mick” McGuire, both new to politics, have also announced their intention to seek the GOP nomination. U.S. Representative Andy Biggs has said he is considering a race but has not announced a decision. Blake Masters, who has worked closely with billionaire Peter Thiel, could also show up.
Kelly, a retired astronaut, won a special election last year to complete the late John McCain’s tenure in the Senate. He is now seeking a full six-year term. The race is one of the most publicized contests of 2022 and will help determine which party controls the US Senate.
As attorney general, Brnovich has chosen a number of high-profile fights, including a lawsuit against the Arizona Board of Regents – which is typically his client – over plans to build from hotel to hotel. Arizona State University. He also asked the US Supreme Court to strike down part of the voting rights law in a high-stakes case filed by the Democratic National Committee; a decision is expected in the coming weeks.
Democrats immediately signaled that they would underline his support for a lawsuit to strike down the Affordable Care Act, the health care law known as “Obamacare.” Democrats effectively used opposition to the law against Republicans in 2018 and 2020.
Before being elected Attorney General in 2014, Brnovich was a federal prosecutor and head of the state gambling department, which regulates gambling.