[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
We've been tracking the recall campaign against Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, author of SB1070, because he insisted on playing his nativist fiddle in the Senate while Arizona's economy burned to the ground. It probably hasn't helped that he's become belligerent whenever anyone brings up his role in the Fiesta Bowl scandal, either.
Of course, Greta Van Susteren knew better than to ask Pearce any such tough questions last night on her Fox show. She mostly lobbed out the news of the day -- the fact that the people leading the recall had filed more than twice what they needed, some 18,000 signatures -- and let him swing away.
But Pearce looked scared, and he should be:
In a celebratory display of unprecedented organization, a bipartisan group of activists poured into the Arizona secretary of state's office yesterday with more than 18,300 signatures to demand the recall of State Senate president Russell Pearce. The filing of the petitions marked the culmination of a campaign that has defied expectations, and a watershed moment for the beleaguered state. Once the state and Maricopa County recorders verify the legal requirement of 7,756 signatures from the traditionally conservative and Mormon-founded Mesa district, Pearce—who is considered by many as the de facto governor and motivating force behind the state's notorious blitz of extremist policies on education, health, guns and immigration—will become the first State Senate president in American history to be recalled.Those signatures contain a message:
Recall proponents say they filed petitions bearing 18,315 signatures. But campaign chairman Chad Snow acknowledged thousands of those might be duplicates or signatures of people who live outside the Senate President's district.Pearce claimed to Van Susteren that most of the signatures would be proven ineligible and that his legal team intended to contest them. Then he claimed that the people involved in the recall are "radical leftists" and "anarchists." Then he claimed that his nativist agenda was in fact extremely popular with his constituents.
"We want those extra petition signatures to send a message," Snow said. "We want to send a message to Sen. Pearce, to every legislator down here at the Arizona Legislature that this kind of extreme, ideologically driven policies will no longer be tolerated in our state."
Of course, he has formed a response team:
His supporters have formed their own group, The Citizens Who Oppose the Pearce Recall, and on Tuesday launched a website to solicit donations to fight the recall effort.I hope the folks in Mesa are ready for the fight of their lives.
"We will not sit back and let out-of-state and out-of-district special interests attempt to use a recall to harass and intimidate Arizona's constitutionally elected officials," said Matt Tolman, chairman of the group. "We will oppose this recall so that President Pearce and other officials can do the job for which they were elected."