The recall election targeting state Senate President Russell Pearce has its first potential challenger, west Mesa resident Jerry Lewis. In a statement released Friday, Lewis said he's a lifelong conservative Republican who plans to announce whether he's running next week.

The announcement comes three days after Gov. Jan Brewer formally called a Nov. 8 recall election, certifying Pearce opponents had gathered at least 7,756 valid signatures to trigger an election.

Lewis, 54, is assistant superintendent for Sequoia Schools, a Mesa-based charter school chain with 13 locations across the state. He is a former certified public accountant and once was a senior manager for accounting firm Deloitte and Touche.

Lewis has lived in Mesa 30 years and cites community involvement that includes being vice president of the Grand Canyon Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He and his wife, Janet, have seven children and six grandchildren.

Any candidate who challenges Pearce has until Sept. 9 to gather at least 621 signatures. There is no primary, so whoever gets the most votes in the election will serve through 2012.

Lewis's statement included he is supported by Dea Montague, west Mesa attorney.

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