Who Will Run Against Pearce?
No One Has Stepped Up To Challenge Arizona’s Senate President, An Ominous Sign For Those Looking To Recall Him
Russell Pearce in his official photo.
By John Guzzon
Modern Times Magazine .com
June 14, 2011 — After more than six months of hard work and hope, Citizens For A Better Arizona are tantalizingly close to having the recall election of Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce certified.
According to reports, the Maricopa County Recorders Office has verified more than 5,000 signatures. In order for the recall to move on to the next stage — Gov. Jan Brewer — only about 2,000 out of more than 8,000 remaining signatures need to validated. But all that will accomplish is create a recall election in November 2011 or March 2012 for the state senate seat in district 18.
The real question is if anyone can defeat the well-connected and well-heeled Pearce in the recall election.
In his last polling battle in November 2010, Pearce easily defeated democrat Andrew Sherwood and libertarian Andrea Garcia. Pearce gathered 17,552 votes, while Sherwood, a dog trainer, collected 10,663 and Garcia, a respiratory technician, gathered 2,808.
Pearce, who’s supporters include the Arizona Police Association, the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, AzCops, AZ Fraternal Order of Police, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, ran against a dog trainer and a respiratory technician.
No wonder he won by a landslide.
This time, a better candidate must be found if those who signed the recall position truly want to see him removed from office. With all due respect to Robert Hernandez McDonald, Jr., who lost to Sherwood in the democratic primary by a handful of votes, a former corrections officer who has remaining issues against the Corrections Corporation of America will also not cut the mustard.
The area of Pearce’s district — northwest Mesa, including the downtown area as well as some new developments east of downtown — is not known for its political heavyweights. At least not democrats who would run against Pearce.
But there is no denying Pearce is vulnerable. The ease that which Citizens for A Better Arizona were able to acquire the signatures for his recall — the first ever recall of a state legislator in Arizona history — is a testament to eroding support from the ‘middle.’ The mythos that has evolved around his purported battles for “liberty” and “justice” has cemented his support from the tea party faithful.
On the other hand, even with eroding support, he has a very strong base. Pearce will most likely grab 45 to 55 percent of the vote in the recall battle. Pearce can be beat by the right candidate but there needs to be only one candidate against him in the recall battle. If the opposition has its votes split by feuding factions, Pearce will most likely win. This needs to be a one-on-one battle.
According to Arizona Regional Statute 19-216, “The candidate receiving the largest number of votes shall be declared elected for the remainder of the term and shall begin serving the remainder of the term on his qualification for the office and on completion of the canvass. Unless the incumbent receives the largest number of votes he shall be deemed removed from office upon qualification of his successor.”
Someone needs to get more votes that Russell Pearce.
So, who will it be?