Photo: Pearce Supporters Created "Sham" Candidate for Arizona's Recall Election Against Peace
Last week, Olivia Cortes withdrew from Arizona’s Legislative District 18 recall election of controversial Senate President Russell Pearce. She has since faced questions from those who believe she was recruited by Pearce supporters to split the votes of those against him, and a Maricopa County judge says there is indeed evidence to support those claims.
Cortes, an immigrant who many believed stood a good chance of picking up the Latino and fellow immigrant vote, only filed to challenge Pearce in July, which is why many were surprised she was already dropping out.
However, it has come to light that Cortes’ campaign was orchestrated by Pearce supporters like Greg Western, chairman of the East Valley Tea Party.
The Cortes campaign began to fall apart after it was realized that she was not doing many interviews and was “shaky” on the issues when would speak.
It was Republican candidate Jerry Lewis’ campaign however, which sparked the investigation into Cortes’ campaign.
Lewis’ supporters went to court to challenge her campaign after uncovering information connecting Pearce to Cortes.
It was discovered that Pearce’s nieces helped collect signatures to get Cortes on the ballot and that his brother, Lester, a justice of the peace who is prohibited from campaigning, accompanied them.
Rather than go back to court, Cortes’ lawyer relayed that she was willing to simply drop out.
And though she has bowed out, Judge Edward O. Burke of the Superior Court of Maricopa County said Cortes would not be taken off the ballot.
When giving his ruling, Judge Burke stated, “The court finds that Pearce supporters recruited Cortes, a political neophyte, to run in the recall election to siphon Hispanic votes from Lewis to advance Pearce’s recall election bid.”
Ballots with the three candidates names have already been printed, but election officials stated that on Election Day (November 8) signs would be posted saying Cortes was no longer running.
Judge Burke said he wound no wrong doing on the part of Ms. Cortez, citing her strong opposition to “Pearce’s harsh legislative treatment and comments about illegal Hispanic immigrants.”
Pearce was the sponsor of highly controversial Arizona immigration law known as SB 1070.
This recall election is the first in Arizona history.