Allies of state Senate President Russell Pearce have formed a political committee to help the Mesa Republican if a recall election is called.
The group aims to do its own verification of recall petition signatures that election officials are scrutinizing and to raise questions of Pearce foes behind the recall effort.
Citizens Who Oppose the Pearce Recall is still organizing itself and seeking funds, chairman Matt Tolman said. While recall supporters touted some activists were Mormon Republicans like Pearce, the group was led by two men from outside Mesa.
"We're focusing in making sure the voters know where the recall committee is coming from and who is behind it," Tolman said. "Russell Pearce has been elected 16 times and there is no reason he won't be elected a 17th time."
The election reference included primary and general elections for Pearce, who has served District 18 in west Mesa since 2000. The recall group is led by Chad Snow, a Republican from Peoria, and Randy Parraz, a Scottsdale resident ran for the U.S. Senate as a Democrat.
Tolman filed paperwork with the Arizona Secretary of State on May 27, four days before Pearce opponents submitted more than 18,300 signatures on recall petitions. State and Maricopa County elections officials have more than two months to verify that 7,756 signatures are valid to trigger an election. Gov. Jan Brewer makes the final call. If she calls an election by Aug. 10, the election would occur in November but it would fall in March otherwise.
Tolman said Pearce has served the interests of the conservative district and that voters have an opportunity to reject Pearce every two years.
"If they don't want him in his seat again, there's an election in November (2012) and they can un-elect him," Tolman said. "A recall is meant for a crime or something like that, but nothing like that occurred."
Tolman is a District 18 Republican precinct committeeman who has worked on Pearce campaigns before and ran for Mesa City Council in 2008. The Pearce support group consists of Tolman, a treasurer and a few volunteers now. The committee is still evaluating what its activities may include should an election take place. Tolman said there hasn't been a specific goal for fundraising, which is now being accepted through the group's site at www.protectanamericanpatriot.com.