Why did Senate President Russell Pearce get the boot?
Successful recall of state political powerhouse raises questions
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A major upset in Arizona politics election night. Senate President Russell Pearce lost his seat
in a recall election. The force behind the state's controversial immigration enforcement law, Pearce conceded his post to fellow Republican and challenger Jerry Lewis Tuesday night. The successful ousting raises questions about why it happened and what happens next.
“If being recalled is the price for keeping one's promises, then so be it,” Pearce said during his concession speech election night. “I've always kept my promises.”
Why was the Republican recalled? What cost the primary author of SB 1070 his job? KGUN9 News found that depends on who ask.
Contender Jerry Lewis said the recall was about their district in Mesa and how it was being represented in the legislature.
“Do you see it that way?” Reporter Kevin Keen asked. “Not really,” said Tucson attorney Richard Martinez. “I think that SB 1070 and the kind of politics that Russell Pearce represents on every issue at every level--both in his legislative district and statewide--was what lead to his downfall.”
Martinez, who fought SB 1070, says voters oppose the pending immigration law and other legislation backed by Pearce. He sees future fallout among Arizona Republicans.
“I think there will be those people who will find themselves recalled or not reelected,” Martinez said. “I think there are others who are going to modify their positions and become much more moderate in their policies or legislation that they advocate.”
Representative Vic Williams, a Republican representing district 26 including Tucson, sees the recall as a political tactic and says SB 1070 wasn't involved.
“The liberals, if they can't win at the polls through regular means, are going to use this new page out of their playback to try to manipulate our elections,” Williams said.
“Do you see an impact on the legislature--taking action on future immigration issues as a result of this change?” Keen asked. “No, absolutely not.” Williams said. “Once again, the state of Arizona, the Republican caucus--which is a super-majority--along with a very conservative governor, Governor Brewer, we're going to make sure that we're going to protect Arizona with state-based illegal immigration laws.”
Republicans will meet Thursday to pick a new president for the state Senate.