Photo: Arizona Recall Election Kicks SB 1070 Author Russell Pearce Out of Office
Controversial Arizona legislator Russell Pearce is now without a job after the recall election meant to kick him out of office succeeded.
The now-former Arizona State Senator Pearce lost the recall election against fellow Republican Jerry Lewis in Phoenix Tuesday night, with 53 percent of the votes going to Lewis.
Pearce was the main author of Arizona’s controversial immigration law known as SB 1070, and while many across the country support the law, some voters were becoming increasingly frustrated with Pearce’s focus on undocumented immigration, especially when the state, especially the Phoenix area he represented, was facing an economic crisis.
Pearce’s ethnics were often called into question as well, as many believed he had ties to white supremacists, while others claimed he did not push SB 1070 to take on immigration, but rather to put money in the pockets of the privately-run prisons that both he and Gov. Jan Brewer were connected to.
Back in May, those in favor of a recall election gathered 17,000 signatures to get the recall on the ballot. Though only about 10,000 were deemed valid, only 7,756 signatures were actually necessary.
While all the votes were being tallied, Pearce gave a speech in Mesa saying, “It doesn’t look like the numbers are going in my direction on this, and I’m okay with that.”
The Associated Press quoted Lewis as saying, “We pulled off a historic upset. We ran a clean and civil campaign.”
Lewis, 55, a charter school executive, is a conservative Republican, and while he does not differ from Pearce on immigration, he expressed that the state needed a change in focus and tone. He called SB 1070 a “good start,” but says he will tackle the issue of immigration differently.
He had stated that though Pearce’s term only had one year left, the people of Arizona could not afford to wait to unseat a man who had tarnished the state’s image.
The recall election against Pearce is believed to have been first held against a state legislator in Arizona history.