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Arizona voters to pick Abe Hamadeh, Kris Mayes for attorney general – The Arizona Republic

Arizonans have their last chance Tuesday to weigh in on whether Democrat Kris Mayes or Republican Abe Hamadeh becomes Arizona’s next attorney general.

Mayes, a former member of the Arizona Corporation Commission, and Hamadeh, a former prosecutor at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, have hit each other with tough rhetoric on social media and at campaign events, and contempt between the two camps has shaped the race.

Abortion and election integrity were major issues in the campaign. 

Another key issue in the race has been experience, namely prosecutorial experience, with each contender making claims about the other’s background. 

Election Day coverage: Live voting updates | Arizona election results

While this has arisen as an issue on the campaign trail, the day-to-day job of the attorney general does not involve much prosecution. The attorney general oversees prosecutors, acts as counsel to state agencies, protects consumers and represents the state in front of the Supreme Court. 

Hamadeh, a political newcomer, was dogged by revelations about his past that emerged after the Aug. 2 primary. Assisted by former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, Hamadeh beat out five other candidates in the crowded Republican primary field.

Hamadeh said Arizona’s pre-state law that bans all abortions is the state law. Mayes said the pre-state law violates the Arizona Constitution, which guarantees a right to privacy. 

Hamadeh worked for about three years as a deputy Maricopa County attorney and tried cases in court. The Republic was unable to verify how many in total, but in a one-year period, documents show he took five trials to court as either lead or second prosecutor.

Mayes does not have traditional trial experience but points to her involvement with the Arizona Corporation Commission’s Securities Division.

Mayes spoke about her experience in an Oct. 30 social media post: “I’m proud of the work I did while serving AZ as a Commissioner, including overseeing 2,700 cases that included high level Securities Fraud cases.”

She served for seven years on the commission from 2003-2010.

Mayes also has argued that Hamadeh is a danger to democracy, as he does not acknowledge President Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona in 2020. In the primary, Hamadeh said he disagreed with Gov. Doug Ducey’s certification of that election due to voter fraud, despite no evidence of widescale problems revealed through multiple audits and lawsuits.

Despite taking a hard-line position on immigration, his father, Jamal Hamadah, once faced deportation for overstaying his visa and pointed to his children as justification for remaining. Hamadah was not in the country legally when Abe Hamadeh was born.

Trump has contended that children born in the U.S. to parents without legal status should not receive citizenship. Hamadeh has echoed many of the same immigration stances as Trump, though not specifically on birthright citizenship.

Hamadah, who spells his last name multiple ways in public records, sued Abe and his siblings in a dispute over land after they violated the terms of a written trust agreement.

And while Hamadeh has made election security a top issue, he also wrote in an online forum as a 17-year-old that he voted his mother’s ballot in the 2008 presidential election. Doing so would violate Arizona election laws.

Hamadeh made an issue of stock purchases Mayes acknowledged she made in 2000 when she was a reporter at The Arizona Republic. She was among the journalists who purchased stock through their 401(k) accounts in the company that owned the paper before its sale to Gannett, the news outlet’s current owner.

The move violated the newspaper’s ethics policy, a newsroom leader said at the time, because those involved acted on knowledge not available to the public. In comments made in 2003, Mayes maintained she did nothing wrong, that discussions about a possible sale of the business were happening inside and outside the newsroom, and said she made about $5,000 off the trade.

Dan Barr, Mayes’ campaign attorney, said in October Mayes was committed not to disparage The Republic over the matter and expected the same of the newspaper.

Vote counting likely will take days or more before a result in the race is known.

Tara Kavaler is a politics reporter at The Arizona Republic. She can be reached by email at tara.kavaler@arizonarepublic.com or on Twitter @kavalertara. 

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