Disbarred former county attorney announces bid for governor - New York News

Disbarred former county attorney announces bid for Arizona governor

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PHOENIX -

He used to be one of the most powerful men in the valley.

For years, Andrew Thomas was Maricopa County Attorney and worked side by side with Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  But since then, he lost a primary election to try to become Arizona's Attorney General and then he was disbarred.

Now Thomas is trying to get back into politics -- this time as Governor.

He has name recognition, but not for all the best reasons.  He was a very high profile county attorney, but also ran into some very high profile problems.

On Friday, Thomas said that once voters hear his side of the story, they'll look beyond his past.  He plans to bill himself as a crime fighter, who will take a hard stance on immigration.

"Arizonans face unprecedented challenges and dangers to our way of life.  Tough fights call for tough leaders," he said.

Flanked by supporters, Thomas filed his paperwork to run as a Republican.  He brushed off any talk of his past problems.

"I will continue to stand up to powerful people and anger them as necessary regardless of the personal cost to do my job, to keep my campaign promises and make things right again."

While he was county attorney, Thomas and Arpaio went after a Maricopa County judge and two county supervisors, filing various corruption charges.

The cases were all thrown out.  The three sued the county and are expected to get a combined $2 million.

Thomas ended up losing his license to practice law.

"Gutsy move.  I guess he needs a job," said political analyst Mike O'Neil.

O'Neil says Thomas could benefit from what may be a crowded field of Republican candidates, but no doubt getting disbarred will be an issue.

"People do have short memories. His problem is at some point, he is going to have an opponent and the opponent will remind everyone of what transpired.  It is hard to see that not happening."

Thomas doesn't seem to be worried.

"In Mexico, prosecutors who take on the powerful are shot or blown up. In Arizona, they are disbarred and that has to change and I believe the voters will agree with me."

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