Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Monday made a fundraising appeal on behalf of state Senate President Russell Pearce, a fellow Republican known nationally for championing legislation against illegal immigrants.
Meanwhile, Pearce faces a Monday deadline to go to court to try to head off the recall election scheduled to be held Nov. 8 in his Mesa legislative district.
Brewer said in the emailed appeal on behalf of Citizens Who Oppose the Pearce Recall that she wants to support Pearce, whom she called an "American patriot."
The appeal cited the 2010 law known as SB1070 that Pearce championed and Brewer signed into law and other Pearce-backed bills on illegal immigration.
"Once again, it is time to take a stand against those who boycott and hurt our state," Brewer said. "We need leaders who believe in securing our border and protecting our citizens. Russell Pearce is that man, and we need (to) keep him on our team."
Brewer last week issued a proclamation calling the Nov. 8 special vote. She did that after state and Maricopa County election officials certified that Pearce opponents collected enough voter signatures to force an election.
Pearce's name automatically goes on the ballot, but any challenger must collect at least 621 voter signatures to qualify to oppose him.
Jerry Lewis, a Mesa man who is an executive with a charter school company, has said he may challenge Pearce in the election.
State and county elections officials certified on July 8 that recall supporters had submitted 10,365 valid signatures. They needed 7,756.
Recall drive organizers said when they launched their drive that Pearce had failed to focus on important concerns such as protecting public education and ensure access to health care, and more recently they've been critical of his hard-edged stance on illegal immigration.
In a statement he submitted Friday to go on the ballot, Pearce said he strives to promote "freedom, excelling schools, vibrant economic growth, job creation, balanced budgets, strong law enforcement and secure borders."