Earlier this year, Citizens for a Better Arizona (CBA) — a “coalition of concerned citizens committed to improving the quality of life of all Arizonans” — filed paperwork with the Arizona state Secretary of State’s Office to start a recall drive against state Senate President Russell Pearce (R). As the coalition nears its May 31 deadline, CBA claims that it’s confident it will obtain the 7,756 signatures needed to put Pearce back on the ballot. A local Phoenix news station reports:
He was called “politically invincible,” but a recall effort against State Senate President Russell Pearce has quickly picked up in steam in Mesa. The people leading the effort have already collected thousands of signatures and they’re two-thirds of the way to the amount they need to trigger a recall election. […]
In the aftermath of SB 1070, Russell Pearce’s popularity seemed to skyrocket. But then his own party members turned against him to defeat his latest immigration bills, word got out that he allegedly banned members of the public from the Capitol, and blocked the media from the chamber — and then add to that the scandal surrounding free football game tickets provided by the Fiesta Bowl and a potential ethics investigation — and Russell Pearce may have a problem.
Snow also indicated that he is “absolutely positive” the group will get all of the signature it needs to force an election.
Pearce has dismissed recall backs as an “open border crowd.” “Their agenda is open borders. I don’t know how can they ignore the damage to our country,” he stated in February. “They think it’s OK to break our law and be rewarded for it.” Back then, he felt confident that most people in his district support his views, but “you take everything serious.” That was before news broke that he may have illegally accepted thousands of dollars worth of Fiesta Bowl tickets. Since the beginning of the year, Pearce also foolishly wasted the Arizona legislature’s time on a flurry of far-right immigration bills after promising his colleagues that he would use his position to focus on the economy.
Some political analysts have warned Citizens for a Better Arizona about the potential effects of a successful recall drive. According to them, Pearce may still prove hard to beat in a second election. If he wins again, he may see it as yet another mandate. Yet, that may just be a risk worth taking.