Best Political Coward - 2008
State Representative Russell Pearce
Around here, where political yella-bellies abound, picking the most egregious example of political poltroonery is rough work. After all, Arizona has a gutless attorney general who bends over when Sheriff Joe Arpaio institutes a bogus investigation of his office. And there's Arpaio himself, who wimped out of Guadalupe when the mayor there stood up to him, and who conceded Mesa to Police Chief George Gascón during the Sheriff's Office's anti-immigrant sweep in that city.
But nothing beats Mesa pantywaist Russell Pearce, a bigoted bully in the state Legislature who is used to getting his way. Pearce was looking to take on moderate Republican Jeff Flake this year for his District 6 Congressional seat, had an exploratory committee taking donations, and even started sporting a toupée in a lame attempt to compete with golden-boy Flake's toothy good looks. However, Russ' exploratory committee raised only about $24K, while Flake had a cool mil in the bank. And the state Republican Party was not enthusiastic about Russ' challenging the wildly popular Flake, so the big, bad Pearce pulled out. Um, wussed out is more like it. Since Pearce's term-limited out of the state House, he's running for the state Senate seat vacated by Karen Johnson. But if Russ'd been half the man he pretends to be, he would've stuck it out with Jeff Flake to begin with. In other words, look up the word "punk" in the dictionary, and (in a perfect world) you'd see a pic of Pearce.