In this May 9, 2011 photo, from left, attorney John Bouma, Sen. Russell Pearce, Attorney General Tom Horne and Gov. Jan Brewer, hold a news conference to announce the state's decision to appeal to the United States Supreme Court by July 11, a decision by a lower court that put the most controversial parts of the state's immigration enforcement law on hold, in Phoenix.

Associated Press file

Senate President Russell Pearce filed a statement Friday with the Secretary of State's office to be included on the Nov. 8 ballot as he fights to keep his seat representing west Mesa.

Pearce is entitled to have a statement on the ballot because opponents gathered enough certified petition signatures to force a recall election.

Pearce's statement reads: "I have devoted my entire life to public service - first as a Maricopa County deputy sheriff who was shot in the line of duty, then as the North Mesa Justice of the Peace and now as a member of the legislature. I was born in Mesa and I share and promote the values of our great community: freedom, excelling schools, vibrant economic growth, job creation, balanced budgets, strong law enforcement and secure borders.

"I am proud of my legislative record of limited government and living within our means. As the President of the Senate, I ushered through the first truly balanced budget in five years - no gimmicks and no new borrowing. I have been named ‘Champion of the Taxpayer' by Americans for Prosperity and ‘Hero of the Taxpayer' by the American Tax Reform.

"Together with Governor Jan Brewer, we enacted the innovative ‘Arizona Competitiveness Package' that is our roadmap for putting Arizonans back to work. I continue to fight for education excellence and choice because our children deserve no less.

"I have always done what I have promised you I would do. I am honored to serve our community and you. I respectfully ask for your vote."

County and state officials determined that there were at least the 7,756 valid signatures required to force Pearce to defend his office, and Brewer formally called for a Nov. 8 recall election.

Elected to the state House in 2000, Pearce moved to the Senate after the 2008 election. The Republican majority chose him as Senate president after last year's election.

Those who want to run against Pearce have until Sept. 9 to gather at least 621 petition signatures. There is no primary, so whoever gets the most votes on Nov. 8 will fill out the balance of the term through 2012.

A possible challenger emerged Friday.

West Mesa resident Jerry Lewis said he is considering a run against Pearce and will announce his plans next week. Lewis is assistant superintendent for Sequoia Schools, a Mesa-based charter school chain, and a former certified accountant.

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