More Than Immigration at Stake in Historic Effort to Recall AZ's Pearce

More Than Immigration at Stake in Historic Effort to Recall AZ's Pearce

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PHOENIX, Ariz.—A bipartisan effort to recall conservative state Senator Russell Pearce, known for his tough stance on illegal immigration, could signal a shift in the political climate in Arizona, even if it doesn’t result in Pearce leaving office.

Hundreds of people from the group Citizens for a Better Arizona gathered outside the Secretary of State’s office on Tuesday to deliver 18,315 signatures in support of the recall. 

Once the signatures are certifed, Pearce will automatically be recalled and will face a special election to keep his job. That could happen in November.

Only 7,756 signatures are required to force the new election, but the group's cofounder, Randy Parraz, said activists wanted to make a political statement by surpassing the 17,553 votes Pearce received in November 2010.

If the campaign succeeds, it would be the first time in Arizona history that a politician faced a recall election, according to the Secretary of State. (Republican Governor Evan Mecham was recalled for misusing state funds in 1988 but was impeached and removed from office before the election took place.)

A recall would be even more noteworthy in light of Pearce’s extremely conservative District 18, which covers most of western and central Mesa and small portions of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

“It is remarkable, given the district where he comes from is heavily Republican,” said Rodolfo Espino, a political science professor at Arizona State University in Tempe.

Espino said the recall campaign has been successful because it hasn't focused on immigration, but has included Pearce’s overall political performance.

Pearce, who took over as president of the state Senate this year, has been in office for 10 years. Like many of his constituents, he is a member of the  Mormon church.

He first gained national notoriety as a hardliner against illegal immigration for his support of Prop. 200, a ballot initiative to deny public benefits to undocumented immigrants, which was passed by state voters in 2004.

Pearce later was the main force behind a law, upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court on May 27, to sanction businesses that hired undocumented workers. Most recently, he garnered international attention for being the “architect” of SB 1070. The law, which has been partially blocked in the courts, would allow local police to incarcerate suspected undocumented immigrants.

In 2008 and 2010, Pearce was re-elected with close to 56 percent of the vote.

Parraz says Pearce’s support for SB 1070, as well as his attempt to change the 14th Amendment of the Constitution to deny birthright citizenship to the children of undocumented immigrants, is only part of the reason voters have supported the recall campaign.

Other reasons cited on the Citizens for a Better Arizona website are Pearce’s political performance on such issues as health care (he helped defund the state public health care system) and public education (he supported major cuts).

Parraz said that the group hopes to send the message that Pearce is out of sync with what voters want.

“We don’t talk about the issue of immigration because there’s so much more,” said Brenda Rascón, who lives in Pearce’s district and who has been circulating petitions for his recall since February. “There are people in his own district (who) are hurting economically, and he is pursuing this agenda that is economically disastrous,” she said.

Rascon said that in conversations with voters, some supported his immigration views, but were disappointed with his failure to disclose that he had received numerous free trips to out-of-state college football games from the nonprofit organization Fiesta Bowl. While he has denied any wrongdoing, Pearce was among several legislators who amended their financial disclosure reports to list the trips that had not been reported.

Two weeks ago, Pearce was also the subject of a special news report by the Phoenix-based Fox News affiliate, KTVK-3TV, that questioned his ties to neo-Nazi J.T. Ready (previously reported by the weekly Phoenix News Times). Pearce denied knowing about Ready’s connections to the movement, and claimed that he cut ties with him once he found out.

The senator wasn’t available for an interview with NAM. His spokesperson said he wasn’t “as a general rule” commenting on the recall.

But during a “Fight the Recall" rally that was attended by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, also  known for his tough stance on immigration, Pearce told a Phoenix television station that he takes the recall campaign seriously.

"You take everything seriously. People know who these folks are. They've tried it before," Pearce said. "They're simply open-border anarchists who have no respect for the rule of law. We'll deal with it."

Chad Snow, cofounder of Citizens for a Better Arizona, who is a Republican and Mormon, said the grassroots group has the support of a number of Republicans and members from Pearce’s church. Activists also include people on different sides of SB 1070, he added.

Snow said that the GOP is conflicted over politicians such as Pearce, who are perceived as ideologically extreme and divisive.

That internal division was evident during the last legislative session, when at least five anti-immigrant measures pushed by Pearce, including one to deny birthright citizenship, were defeated with the support of at least 12 Republicans.

If Citizens for a Better Arizona turns in a sufficient number of valid signatures, Republican Governor Jan Brewer will have to call for a special election. Pearce could choose to participate or not. The election could happen this November or next March, depending on how much time the Secretary of State’s office and the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office take to verify the signatures.

"Even if he runs for re-election and wins, he will always have that stigma [of the recall]," Snow said.

 

Comments

 
Anonymous

Posted May 31 2011

I AM NOT SAYING DONT CLOSE THE BORDERS. I AM SAYING STOP THE IGNORANCE & HATE.

Read this whos to blame for our economy, its NOT the POOR MIGRANTS.

300 BILLION$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ are not paid in taxes by USA CITIZENS, WHO CHEAT ON THEIR TAXES THAT's A TRILLION$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ EVERY 3.3YEARS.
DONT BLAME THE POOR, STOP CHEATING AND OUR NATION IS OK. :):)

What the hell happened??? Lets BLAME THE FOOD PICKING, , DISHWASHING, LAWN MOWING UNDOCUMENTED MIGRANTS. YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Anonymous

Posted May 31 2011

When the White settlers came here there was no United States of America, it was just a piece of real estate being endlessly fought over by savage tribes. I think that within a hundred years it will have returned to that state of being, if not before.

Anonymous

Posted May 31 2011

In reply to IGNORANCE AND HATE:

Just because one guilty group is guilty does not make another guilty group innocent.

Anonymous

Posted May 31 2011

Two things. The GOP shouldn't be "conflicted" over conservative politicians like Pearce. Also, contrary to the article's assertion that Pearce is "trying to change the 14th Amendment to deny birthright citizenship to children of undocumented immigrants", a notoriously incompetent ruling in the Wong Kim Ark case changed the meaning of the 14th Amendment. It is unconsionable that the media is still grossly misinterpreting the clear meaning of the 14th Amendment in order to advance their cynical and terribly misguided birthright citizenship position, but attacking the right for misinterpreting the 14th. For the objective who genuinely want a clear, concise summary of the birthright issue, I strongly recommend two articles at Opinerlog.blogspot.com: "Birthright Citizenship & Judicial Incompetence" + "Birthright Citizenship: Politics vs Rule of Law". Let's end this misinformation once and for all

Anonymous

Posted May 31 2011

The 1986 amnesty, the determination of the parasites and their ability to reproduce faster than people who use their minds more than their genitals are a really bad situation for this country. Get rid of them? YES WE CAN!

Anonymous

Posted May 31 2011

You might want to post some comments to the contrary to reflect the majority of the nation. It is pretty obvious what you are up to if you don't.

Anonymous

Posted May 31 2011

Hate to break it to you,pal, but the vast majority of Americans are fed up to their eyeballs with birthright citizenship insanity, open borders and another amnesty. This easily explains the paucity of comments "to the contrary".

Anonymous

Posted May 31 2011

I am appalled at the nasty, vitriolic comments of some of the commenters on this site. I can see now that I won't be reading comments on this site again. What has happened to cause Americans to treat each other so terribly? We have got to stop this before we destroy our country from within.

Anonymous

Posted May 31 2011

It seems that Pearce has done what his constituents want just as Sheriff Joe has. It is too bad that his recently failed bills were not put on the ballot as propositions so the people could raise their voice again against the illegal alien invaders.

Anonymous

Posted May 31 2011

Espino, Parraz, and every other person who attempts to turn this state or country into a clone of the lawless, corrupt, filthy, and violent third world countries the illegal aliens left behind before invading our country surely must realize by now we will not allow them to succeed.

Never in the history of this country have we had an ethnic group so opposed to law and order, while simultaneously so demanding of rights to which they are not entitled nor deserve.

Anonymous

Posted May 31 2011

If he wins re-election, it shows the petitioners as dumba$$es.

Anonymous

Posted May 31 2011

If he wins re-election, it shows the petitioners as dumba$$es.

Anonymous

Posted Jun 1 2011

"Citizens for a Better Arizona"? How stereotypically Orwellian, misleading. " New World Order Utopians Against Arizona" is more accurate.

These issues should be put to the voters as propositions. What then will the globalist, open-border types do when the voters support Pearce's policies. In a principled snit, leave the state in protest? Now wouldn't that be a nice outcome.

Anonymous

Posted Jun 1 2011

The election could happen this November or next March, depending on how much time the Secretary of State’s office and the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office take to verify the signatures.

YEA BETTER CHECK TO SEE IF THEY ARE LEAGLE US CITZENS WHILE YOUR AT IT.

Anonymous

Posted Jun 1 2011

State Senator Pierce has not only saved Arizona from absolute financial oblivion, caused from the economic illegal aliens stealing tax dollars from taxpayers. Senator Peirce had the guts to go against US Chamber of Commerce, ACLU, better recognized as the American Communist Lawyers Union, La Raza and all those Pro-illegal immigrants open border forces. These entities think it’s the American citizens and legal resident’s duty, to monetary support the illegal alien occupation? What Sen. Pierce has done on behalf of all the American people, revealed many of these stealth issues, which both political parties have authored without public awareness? These special interest groups who are out to oust Senator Pierce are destroying America.


Anybody who can slip across our porous border or fly in from God knows where, taxpayers are forced by the courts to feed them, house their families and make sure their kids are given an education, and that every family member gets free medical treatment. Pierce should be abundantly rewarded for what he has accomplished, in association with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer for our nation.


The majority of the Liberals, Democrats and Republicans are a bunch of cringing wimps, who are the puppets of special interest lobbyists. They are the real criminals in collusion to buy votes and import more cheap labor. They thrive in dark corners like venomous spiders, out to destroy patriotic American culture and undermining the US Constitution. Mesa Republican Mary Lou Boettcher is probably looking for Campaign contributions from big business and she is the one who should be-- recalled. All those are revealed as un-patriotic and pushing for another financially killing Amnesty should join the TEA PARTY nationally or locally. The TEA PARTY is mobilizing in opposition to the corruption, poor government in all 50 States. All those who are out to cater to the illegal migrants and immigrants, will be voted out in 2012. Attention should be drawn to this ominous petition, as illegal aliens are voting illegally in elections across the country. Spawned originally by ACORN, that supposedly is extinct, has reorganized and must be watched in every state for registering anybody. Special election commissions are already investigating thousands erroneous registrations in New York, Colorado, New Jersey and Texas. More information is available at NumbersUSA about the lies manifested in this growing problem.

Anonymous

Posted Jun 2 2011

Okay, somebody set up a web-site. What's the website? I want to donate some money.

Anonymous

Posted Jun 2 2011

This is a response to Anonymous. Surely you know that the AZ law, SB1070 followed federal EXACTLY! Also, I work for a major construction company and they have hired many many illegal aliens. Therefor, it's not just lowly jobs like lawn mowing, sir. These employees have made more serious errors in building codes that the company has had to spend more money to repair the damage to the structure that it cost in saving in cheap labor. Those jobs could have been performed by English literate men who at least understood the concept of constructing with proper building codes.
The majority of the illegal alien problem is drugs and drug related crimes. I live in a 6 years old community. One of the abandoned homes was broken into by illegal aliens working for the drug cartel. They were mules, each had a gun. Thank goodness the Police raided the house. The marijuana trade is used to finance the production of the harder drugs such as, meth and crack. If you don't believe me, read some of the Mexican Newspaper stories which were published last year. You call them "migrants" but they are coming here ILLEGALLY. Other countries have laws which are more strict regarding illegal aliens, all throughout Europe yet, America is the "bad guy". The laws passed to protect our borders has NOTHING to do with your charge of "ignorance and hate". Obviously you know no one who works anywhere near the border with Mexico; if you did, you would know that Islamic Terrorist groups are entrenched in Mexico and sneaking members across the border, daily.
As far as tax cheating goes, why not look at who these people actually are? How about the most recent? Or within the current administration? Tim Geithner, Kathleen Sebelius, Nancy Killifer, Ron Kirk, Hilda Solis and the president's nomination for HHS Tom Daschle, just to name a few.

Anonymous

Posted Jun 2 2011

I think it's amusing to read the response from the person who thought that New American Media is only posting views in opposition to her own. I'm obliged to agree with the next commenter who answered that the majority of citizens of the US do indeed agree with Arizona and their stand on illegal immigration. The Press has only printed stories which support the disingenuous Democrats rather than facts.

Anonymous

Posted Jun 4 2011

Quite a few rightwing freaks flooding this comment thread. Too bad your over voting here is meaningless to a properly done recall effort. Lets hope voters get over their apathy and outvote the mouthfoamers....some of which here think they are the majority.

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