Russell Pearce to run for Arizona Senate
Ousted president seeks to return as LD 25 legislator
Seeking a political comeback after his ouster from a top legislative post, Russell Pearce will try to return to the Arizona Senate this fall.
The longtime Mesa lawmaker, who authored the controversial immigration law Senate Bill 1070 and has since become a national spokesman for tough illegal-immigration enforcement, announced his plan to run in the new Legislative District 25 on Monday night before a roomful of "tea party" supporters.
Pearce lost his seat and the presidency of the Senate in November when Jerry Lewis beat him in a recall election. Recall supporters said they wanted a lawmaker who focused on the economy and education, not the controversy over immigration.
March 19, 2012
by Alia Beard Rau
Foes of the bill contended it was racially divisive and targeted Latinos. Its major provisions have been put on hold as it makes its way through fedeal courts.
"I know my duty," Pearce said as he formally announced his run. "It's been a nice vacation, but it's time to go back to work. We have a sacred duty to this land."
Before the announcement, Pearce said that among the goals he hopes to accomplish upon his return to office are quality education, "real school choice," lower taxes and less regulation, and great jobs for a struggling Arizona economy.
More than a dozen GOP leaders, including Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, appeared with Pearce. They spoke not only of Pearce's leading role on SB 1070 but his work on gun rights and budget cuts.
Pearce's entry further muddies an already crowded Republican field for the district, which primarily covers east Mesa.
Lewis isn't an issue. Boundaries drawn during redistricting put Lewis into LD 26, which covers west Mesa and parts of Tempe.
Sen. Rich Crandall, R-Mesa, is the incumbent in Pearce's new LD 25. Rumors have been rampant about whether Crandall will run and in which district.
Pearce and Crandall are not friendly. Crandall, considered to be a more moderate Republican, was among those who helped kill several immigration measures in 2011.
Crandall told The Arizona Republic last week that he planned to run. But that now seems up in the air with a surprise announcement from a third Mesa Republican Mormon.
Bob Worsley, who founded and later sold the Internet retailer SkyMall, has announced he will run for the Senate seat as well.
"I have been involved in politics and charitable causes in Arizona for many years as a volunteer," Worsley said. "I have actively worked to support policies and organizations that promote religious freedom, strengthen families, and seek limited government involvement in our lives."
Pearce said that Worsley is a good businessman with great values but that all the issues he's promised to run on are ones Pearce has already championed.