West Mesa voters have ousted state Senate President Russell Pearce in a historic recall election.

On Tuesday night, with early ballots and all precincts counted, unofficial results showed challenger Jerry Lewis with 53 percent of the vote in a race that's being watched nationally.

If Lewis' lead in legislative District 18 holds, it will represent the first time in Arizona history that voters ousted a state elected official.

Unofficial results showed Lewis with 53.4 percent of the vote and Pearce with 45.36 percent. Olivia Cortes had 1.24 percent even though she had withdrawn from the race.

Pearce's defeat represents a blow to the more conservative wing of the Republican Party, which portrayed the recall as a liberal effort to take down the author of the illegal immigration bill known as SB 1070. Pearce raised money from across the nation as conservatives rallied around the lawmaker.

Pearce told Capitol Media Services that he was disappointed, saying he will spend some time "with my family and my God'' before deciding what to do next. He has not ruled out another run -- including to get his old seat back.

He noted that this was an unusual race, with no primary. That allowed all voters, including the district's Democrats and independents, to make the final decision.

"This is going around the primary process,'' Pearce said. "Jerry Lewis could not win in a (Republican) primary.''

Mesa city councilman Dennis Kavanaugh, who represents about half of District 18, said at the Lewis campaign party he wasn't surprised by Lewis' lead. The district is politically diverse, he said, especially among independents.

Pearce and SB 1070 were popular when the law was passed in 2010, but criticism grew this spring when Pearce pushed a new round of anti-illegal immigration legislation. The Republican supermajority in the Senate couldn't muster enough support for the bill. And the bill triggered a letter from the CEOs of some of Arizona's largest companies urging the Legislature to put a hold on new immigration laws.

In an interview with Capitol Media Services, Pearce said he would not have done anything any different since he was first elected to the Legislature in 2000. That includes not only his high-profile sponsorship of bills aimed at curbing illegal immigration but other issues where he has helped get legislation approved.

"We're No. 1 in the nation in Second Amendment liberties,'' said Pearce, who helped push through laws allowing any adult to carry a concealed weapon. "We're one of the top in the nation in laws that protect the unborn.''

"So what else would I do differently?'' he asked. "I'm pretty proud of that record.''

Lewis said SB 1070 went too far, but neither he nor recall organizers made that a major issue. The charter school executive and recall organizers criticized Pearce for focusing too much on a single issue instead of the economy, jobs and education funding.

Lewis, too, drew fire for saying some viewed Arizona akin to 1964 Alabama.

Pearce raised nearly $230,000 compared with Lewis's total of about $68,000. Lewis' support came primarily from individuals in Mesa, while Pearce enjoyed money from political action committees and people outside Arizona.

Lewis said he'd do more to work on the economy, jobs and education funding, and that he would listen to people involved before acting. But he offered few specifics during the campaign.

Pearce supporters portrayed the recall as a liberal effort, as it was led by Randy Parraz, a Democrat who doesn't live in Mesa. Parraz's Citizens for a Better Arizona had included Republicans.

Parraz said Tuesday night that the results weren't surprising after talking to voters and hearing they were upset with education cuts and issues beyond illegal immigration.

"We didn't build this overnight," Parraz said. "We've been working for 10 months. "Russell Pearce ignored us for most of that time."

Recall volunteer Brenda Rascon cried Tuesday night, saying she objected to Pearce using the term "invasion" to describe illegal immigrants. Rascon said her parents were immigrants.

She also objected to the Legislature cutting funds for organ transplants. Her mother's kidneys failed before she died.

"We took down the most powerful politician in Arizona," she said, "and all we had to do was talk to people."

Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services contributed to this report.

(1) comment


Can you accept as any average American that criminal businesses are using illegal alien’s workers, instead of hiring some of the 22 million jobless? There is even unmitigated evidence that somewhere between 8.5 and 9.0 percentage of illegal aliens are working in the United States. Please tell me—what sort of government allows this to continue? If you are frustrated and angry induced by this corruption in our sovereign nation, then explore your options? You can ignore this abuse of our immigration laws, set down by the 1986 Immigration Control and Reform Act or you can pound on the doors of indifferent politicians, obligated by their oath of allegiance to enforce immigration laws. For an instance, do agriculture and farmers think their free of blame, for an apparent lose of illegal workers. They have no excuse for paying well below wages and conditions, and then having the audacity to take their charges to hospital including family and registering their children in public schools. More unfunded mandates that we as taxpayers are forced to pay?

As a moderate Conservative and with Tea Party principles as myself, its completely illogical for the Department of Justice to coerce the states of Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Indiana and now South Carolina over there policing enforcement, to rescue their residents from the deluge of economic nationals. Even worse is this administration to even allow foreign governments in intervening in this 'Witch Hunt.' when they are the instigators of these swarms of illegal people appearing here? However, I must announce in fairness that President Obama started off well, in deporting hundreds of foreign nationals, especially criminals, but has faded out because of intervention by the Liberal extremist that were hired, with the intent of undermining public policy.

Have States no sovereignty rights anymore, when years of government mismanagement have placed us firmly in the predicament of not able to assert their own power. When the courts fail ‘The People’ and they enforce unfunded mandates by an administration bureaucracy. We are already taxed to the hilt, so why should we pay for illegal aliens who violate our laws? It is general knowledge that our schools to K-12, gives free education to children of illegal aliens. Or that our health care system is suffocating under a tremendous strain? That our penal system is overwhelmed with criminal aliens, from every poverty-packed corner of the world? That our prisons are so overcrowded that the judiciary directs, that we must place them in already crowded jails or let them go—back on the streets, as Obama’s has already begin to do, by executive order. Why is not every person who violates our laws, not facing FELONY CHARGES, inclusive of breaking into America? Under the MANDATORY LAW of E-Verify, most would self-deport.

The New Construction bill that was bipartisan today in this session, insist that every Contractor and Sub-contractor use E-Verify or be charged with a felony, as illegal aliens will still jobs from America Workers.

My opinion is that under strict codes of conduct as would be enacted by a larger majority of the House and Senate, represented by the TEA PARTY, would forever stop this collusion of corporate and big business and the lobbyists. Their ideology in Washington would have us; dismantle of border fence that bring rapture of joy to every open doorway entity, every radical group, who unfortunately has the cash power beyond the ordinary man or women to use us as slave-taxpayers. Although sadly a small part of the US population is fooled into a state of complacency, the greater volume knows now of hundred billion dollar price tag stuck into our wage packet.


Every law abiding American should be watchful of Liberal progressive tricks in our electoral law, as Rep. Keith Ellison from Minnesota who would undermine national election laws-- as dismally unprotected as they are now. This Democrat envisions introducing a revised federal laws that allows the individual to register the same day and vote, without even showing any proof of which they are? This would open the door, to every illegal alien who can speak a few words of English and cause a major disintegration of most sacred right as a birth or naturalized citizen. Could any elected politician be so incompetent to introduce a bill that is illegal for every citizen of having to show picture ID. The man needs to be admitted and fitted for a straight jacket. We already have recorded cases of illegal aliens, felons, the dead and legal immigrants violating these laws. Voter fraud, using absentee ballots is the easiest document to forge and 2012 will be of paramount importance.

Smith’s THE LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT’ (H.R.2885.) The ‘Ways and Means Committee led by Majority Speak John Boehner (R-OH) must adopt the Mandatory E-Verify Bill (H.R. 2885.) and should be bombarded by demanding voters, as never before. Reps. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.), Tim Johnson (R-Ill.), Reps. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.) and Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) John Sullivan (R-Okla.) and just yesterday Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas) is now co-sponsoring House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith's Legal Workforce Act (H.R.2885), with new members who are rapidly joining this monumental bill. Smith's Legal Workforce Act (H.R.2885) that would require 100% of businesses to use E-Verify for all new hires within 2 years. The bill would also require all federal, state, and local agencies as well as federal and state contractors and critical infrastructure sites to use E-Verify within 6 months. The Legal Workforce Act could open up jobs currently held by illegal aliens.

So as of Wednesday November 9, 2011 currently has 100 sponsors, 58 co-sponsors, with only 43 House members to go. GET ON THESE LAWMAKERS CASES IMMEDIATELY—Call this number at the Washington Switchboard 202-224-3121. Consider that flourishing sites as NumbersUSA and hundreds of organizations such as American Patrol, Federation of American Immigration Reform, CAPS, Heritage Foundation and others have the answers on costs, surveys and analysis.

Go to any Search Engine or specifically GOOGLE and type in NumbersUSA site as there you can freely fax politicians and inform them that you are a voter, and will be doing so when they come searching desperately for your vote.

Smith's Legal Workforce Act (H.R.2885) that would require 100% of businesses to use E-Verify for all new hires within 2 years. The bill would also require all federal, state, and local agencies as well as federal and state contractors and critical infrastructure sites to use E-Verify within 6 months. The Legal Workforce Act could open up as many as 7 million jobs currently held by illegal aliens.


If you ban my blogs or comments, you are a Liberal progressive

I hate any E-media where you cannot refute their articles.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.