Disbarred former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas brought his one-issue campaign for the Republican nomination for governor to Rim Country with a scathing attack on liberal judges, the liberal news media and illegal immigration he said will virtually destroy the state’s economy in the next four years if he’s not elected governor.
“Ten years ago I ran for Maricopa County attorney on slogan to stop immigration,” Thomas told people attending a Payson Tea Party meeting. “Liberal elites snickered. We passed and enforced laws that sent illegal aliens fleeing to other states. The liberal elite called upon our liberal courts to nullify these reforms. The result: Our gains have been erased. We are now right back where we started 10 years ago. The voters of Arizona are waiting to see if the Republican Party is still serious about providing tough leadership to win this fight once and for all. We will decide if the liberal trends overrunning so many institutions will overrun the Republican Party as well. We must stand up and fight these people and fight them hard. These principals are right, some are eternal.”
Thomas resigned as the chief prosecutor for Maricopa County in 2010 to run for state attorney general in the shadow of an FBI investigation for abuse of power and unethical behavior. A disciplinary panel of the Arizona Supreme Court in 2012 disbarred him for some of those same actions.
He waged a high-profile battle with the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and Maricopa County Superior Court judges. He filed felony charges against two members of the board of supervisors, Don Stapley and Mary Rose Wilcox, mostly related to financial disclosure statements they filed. Both were cleared by outside investigators and Wilcox was later awarded damages. A court-appointed special master concluded Thomas acted unethically, prosecuting Wilcox for political gain and retaliation.
Thomas and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpio also filed a federal racketeering lawsuit against the board of supervisors and leading Superior Court judges. Thomas subsequently dropped most of the charges and lawsuit.
The complicated tangle of charges, lawsuits and grand jury testimony ultimately prompted the state Supreme Court to disbar Thomas, citing 33 ethics violations involving conflicts of interest, dishonesty, misrepresentation, filing a frivolous suit and filing charges against county officials solely to embarrass or burden them. The three-judge panel concluded Thomas had “outrageously exploited power, flagrantly fostered fear and disgracefully misused the law.”
Thomas denied all charges, calling it a “political witch hunt.”
In his appearance in Payson, Thomas said that liberal elites who control the media, the universities and the courts effectively conspired to bring him down because of his fight to prevent illegal aliens from entering Arizona.
Calling it the “issue that dwarfs all others,” he said he’s the only one of the eight major Republican candidates for the nomination who has a record of fighting to control the border.
“Structurally, the Republican Party over the last 30 years has lost ground. It’s for the same reasons that most Americans believe our best days are behind us. I believe that Republicans in office are not doing enough to stand up to the liberal bullies who are doing their best to destroy this country,” he said, drawing a big round of applause. “For decades, the political left has waged a quiet war. The liberal activists have been very effective. Like the kingdoms in the “Lord of the Rings” that have fallen to Saron — they are now firmly liberal and hostile to the values that built this nation — academia, the news media, some churches, the courts, Hollywood — elite groups.”
He cited the sharp drop in illegal immigration during the recession as evidence that things like the passage of SB 1070 worked. That measure would allow local police to enforce immigration laws by stopping and questioning anyone they felt might be here illegally. The Supreme Court threw out most of the provisions of the law, concluding that it would lead to racial profiling.
“When I was in office, illegal immigrants fled this sate — and now they stay here and they protest. That is everything you need to know about this race. I wear those battle scars with pride. We need a conservative warrior to go into battle and win this fight in the next four years or we will be done,” he said.
He said the state should send the National Guard to the border and build an effective, high-tech barrier. “They built the Great Wall in China 2,000 years ago — the idea we can’t control our border is just a political copout.
He also objected to letting illegal immigrants have access to American courts or put their children in public schools.
He said only a fierce conservative warrior can stand up to the liberal elites, including judges.
“I just want to drive home. It’s about these judges. We have to deal with these judges. They are the ones who are abetting it. Every time we win, the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) files a lawsuit and we lose. We passed all these great conservative laws — never mind that three-quarters were thrown out two years later. I’ve heard it ever since I started politics — we’ll appoint strict constructionist judges. All these judges on the key issues flip to the left so all these liberal professors will say nice things about them.”