BY LINDA BENTLEY | NOVEMBER 16, 2011
Pearce may be down but he’s not done
‘All of this is to say that it took some very special circumstances to engineer Pearce’s defeat’
PHOENIX – Following his defeat on Nov. 8, Senate President Russell Pearce (r), R-Mesa, thanked his supporters and said he’d be lying if he said he was not extremely disappointed and sad to be leaving office under these circumstances.
He went on to say, “If we don’t take back America now, when? If we don’t stand up to the left and those who seem to care little about the destruction of this nation and run-away government, it won’t be here for our posterity and those who have sacrificed all for freedom will have been in vain.”
Author of SB 1070, Pearce, under the height of its controversy, was reelected to office by nearly a two-thirds margin.
What was different this time?
A recall election has no primary and it is the only time a Republican can run against a Republican, while allowing Democrats to vote.
The recall effort was put into play by Citizens for a Better Arizona, a corporation formed by Randy Parraz by supporting Jerry Lewis as a Republican opponent.
Commenting on his work to unseat Pearce, Bob Lord, a Democrat who lost his bid for Rep. John Shadegg’s seat in 2008, called Parazz “A true progressive hero” on the DailyKos.com blog.
Citizens for a Better Arizona, formed as a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, claims in its articles of incorporation it is organized for the purpose of “Social Welfare,” stating its purpose is (i) To educate and mobilize the general public about issues, elected officials and candidates so that citizens can hold their public officials accountable for their behavior and make informed decisions, and (ii) To conduct trainings, hold forums and engage in political activities to improve the lives of all Arizonans.”
Parraz, who is director of the recently formed Arizona Organizing Institute, is a labor organizer from Tucson who, prior to running the Arizona branch of the AFL-CIO a few years ago, worked for the national organization for eight years.
According to Huffington Post, “In the fall of 2007, Randy returned to Arizona and began work in the housing industry as a political organizer for the Laborers' International Union of North America.”
Following his stint as a community organizer for Dallas Area Interfaith, an affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation founded by Saul Alinsky, author of “Rules for Radicals,” Parraz started the Student Institute for Social Change.
Pearce said, “I will not retreat from this fight and the movement that I helped create is going strong.”
Pearce also doesn’t believe the recall against him was a referendum on SB 1070 or his position on illegal immigration, noting his opponent barely discussed the issue.
Alabama, South Carolina and Georgia all passed bills modeled after SB 1070 this past year, with Alabama’s law even a little tougher than Arizona’s.
Pearce said, “There is no doubt that movement against illegal immigration on the state level has become bigger than me and bigger than Arizona.”
“Pearce would have retained his seat in a regular election,” said Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, adding, “Probably the key factor to keep in mind is that the recall election occurred when only a half-dozen states were having elections. That allowed open-border forces to concentrate most of their money and energy on Pearce’s tiny Arizona district.
There were few competing requests for the money that was used to buy signatures to create the recall election and then run the outside-group advertising.”
Beck also surmised, “If the challenge to Pearce had happened during a regular election year, it is doubtful that nearly as much open-borders money and energy could have been funneled solely to this recall effort,” and said that alone might easily have made the difference in the outcome.
He noted the fact that the rules are different in a recall election than in a regular Primary, whereas non-Republicans were allowed to choose between two Republican candidates.
Beck said, if this had been a regular Primary election, “Pearce most likely would have easily defeated Republican Lewis,” adding, “By all news accounts, the assumption is that Pearce easily won the Republican votes in this recall ballot.”
“All of this is to say that it took some very special circumstances to engineer Pearce’s defeat,” said Beck.
Meanwhile, Pearce has been invited by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to speak alongside him in Washington on states’ rights and Arizona’s success.
Pearce has also been contacted by Tennessee legislators to be the key note speaker at their Lincoln Day Dinner this spring.
Pearce, who has not yet decided whether he will run for the state Senate or another office in the future, said, “However, I am confident that legislators and activists in Arizona and across the country will continue to pass laws to fight illegal immigration, to defend freedom, to limit the power of government and respect the earnings of our taxpayers. I will do everything I can as a private citizen to assist them.”
He said, “Before you know it, it will be 2012 and time to save our state and country all over again. For my part, I am looking forward to it. It is the most important battle of our lifetimes and, looking back, we’ve always done well in elections that occurred in even numbered years.”
Pearce called himself blessed to have been able to serve the citizens of “Mesa, this great state and this nation.”