[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
So it seems that the fake Hispanic candidate propped up by the corrupt author of SB1070, Russell Pearce, in his recall election in Mesa has suddenly dropped out:
Candidate Olivia Cortes on Thursday withdrew from the Legislative District 18 recall election of Senate President Russell Pearce amid ongoing allegations that her campaign was a sham set up by Pearce supporters to pull votes away from opponent Jerry Lewis.The New York Times has more:
Pearce will now face only fellow Republican Lewis in the first recall election of a sitting legislator in state history.
Cortes said in a statement that the "constant intimidation and harassment" led to her withdrawal. And her attorney said that the move was the condition of a deal to stop a court hearing scheduled for today.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Edward Burke had agreed to hear additional testimony in a lawsuit challenging Cortes' candidacy, despite ruling earlier this week that she could remain on the ballot. Burke ruled that Pearce supporters put Cortes on the ballot, but he found no fault with Cortes herself.
A Lewis campaign spokesman said Cortes' decision further proves her sham candidacy but said the damage already has been done.
"From the Cortes/Pearce camp, it's mission accomplished. Their goal was to have the ballot printed with other names on it to confuse people, and that's been done," Lewis co-chairman John Giles said. "Voters are sometimes surprisingly uninformed, especially people who are voting absentee."
But Ms. Cortes’s candidacy fell apart after Mr. Lewis’s allies said they had uncovered evidence of even more links between Ms. Cortes and Mr. Pearce, noting for instance that Mr. Pearce’s nieces had helped collect signatures to get Ms. Cortes on the ballot and that one of Mr. Pearce’s brothers, Lester, who is a justice of the peace and is prohibited from campaigning, accompanied them.Pearce was asked about it at the debate this weekend, too:
Instead of facing another court hearing on Friday, in which Mr. Pearce’s relatives were subpoenaed, Ms. Cortes agreed through her lawyer to pull out of the race.
Ms. Cortes’s candidacy was not debated, but afterward Mr. Pearce was called by reporters, who grilled him on the issue. He denied being behind Ms. Cortes’s candidacy and said he had spoken to his nieces about their involvement. “I wouldn’t have done it,” he said. “I wish they hadn’t done it.”If I were a Mesa voter, I would want to toss out Russell Pearce just for making it so obvious he thinks they're all stupid.
Meanwhile, they get to look forward to the next natural iteration of Russell Pearce's politics: an open white supremacist running for city council.