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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Pearce’s recall behavior shameful

    Russell Pearce’s radical anti-immigrant ideology may have earned him the Arizona Senate presidency and national notoriety to boot, but it hasn’t guaranteed him another full term in office. On Nov. 8, Pearce (aka “Mr. Ethnic Cleansing”) will finally get his comeuppance: a recall election. If the residents of his district are as fed up with his shenanigans as the rest of us are, the controversial one-and-a-half term senator will be kicked to the curb. Of course, Pearce hasn’t taken this sitting down. His two-bit lawyers and supporters are fruitlessly attempting to discredit the recall petition.

    Linda Bentley of the not-so-reliable Sonoran News (“The Conservative Voice of Arizona”) was the first to allege “massive voter registration fraud.” Benita Lantigua, who was registered to vote under three different last names when she signed the Pearce recall petition, was one of two Mesa residents implicated in Bentley’s July 15 article.

    Of course, if Bentley had bothered to actually investigate the matter, she would have found that Lantigua’s multiple monikers weren’t evidence of fraud at all.

    Lantigua was registered under three different names because she had divorced her first husband and married another man. She changed her voter registration accordingly, but the Maricopa County Recorder’s office never got around to annulling her previous entries. Would it have been fraud if Lantigua signed the petition under all three names? Yes. But, according to the Maricopa County elections director, she did no such thing.

    Linda Bentley’s demonstrably inaccurate reporting is just as asinine as Phoenix attorney Lisa Hauser’s recent court complaint on behalf of Pearce.

    Hauser, who was involved in the presidential election recount debacle in Florida 10 years ago, argued that all 10,000 plus signatures on the Pearce recall petition should be invalidated because “each recall petition signature sheet neither explained, nor was required to explain, that a successful recall petition would result in an election.”

    Really? Is Hauser suggesting that the residents of Arizona’s 18th legislative district are too obtuse to understand the implications of a recall petition? When they signed their names and printed their addresses on the signature sheets, were they laboring under the delusion that they were subscribing to some horrible magazine called “Recall Russell Pearce”? Hauser’s argument insults the intelligence of Pearce’s constituents and implicates, among others, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who authorized the petition before it was dispersed.

    While Pearce’s operatives quibble over mere technicalities in the recall process and wrongfully accuse Mesa residents of fraud, the newcomer in the LD 18 Recall Race, Republican Jerry Lewis, is gaining ground.

    Lewis, a charter school executive, is a member of the more moderate wing of the Republican Party and, unlike Pearce, isn’t hell-bent on turning Arizona into the anti-immigrant capital of America. The people of Mesa couldn’t ask for a better state Senate candidate.

    Pearce’s subversive tactics aren’t going to get him out of this one. He can attempt to discredit the recall petition all he wants, but come Nov. 8, his goose is cooked.

    — Nyles Kendall is a political science senior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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