Photo: Defeated Russell Pearce
The League of United Latin American Citizens, the largest and oldest Latino membership organization in the United States, hailed the stunning defeat of Arizona Senator Russell Pearce in a recall election that pitted his extremist anti-immigrant record against the moderate civil tone of his opponent Jerry Lewis. Pearce becomes the first senate president of any state to lose a recall election and must step down immediately once the election results become official.
“Mesa voters decided they have had enough of the anti-immigrant vitriol that Pearce used to create divisiveness throughout Arizona and the rest of the nation,” stated LULAC National President Margaret Moran. “This historic recall along with the defeat of Sharon Angle in Nevada in 2010 should be a clear signal to unscrupulous politicians across the county that immigrant bashing will not help you get elected.”
The conservative Arizona District 18 in Mesa, Arizona was considered a safe seat for Pearce who often boasted that he had never lost an election. Yet Lewis prevailed despite his pledge not to take contributions from lobbyists and special interests and being outspent by Peace by a 3-1 margin. Even the outpouring of support from controversial anti-immigrant politicians like Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer could not save Pearce from voter disgust over his hardline positions.
“The defeat of Russell Pearce yesterday may very well be the election that finally turns the tide on the rise of anti-immigrant xenophobia in America,” stated LULAC National Executive Director Brent Wilkes. “Arizona voters are clearly dismayed that Russell Pearce and the anti-immigrant SB1070 law that he championed have damaged the Arizona economy and given the state a reputation for intolerance.”
The League of United Latin American Citizens, the largest and oldest Hispanic membership organization in the country, advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating through 900 LULAC councils nationwide.