Russell Pearce for Congress, Kyrsten Sinema Hearts Russell

Sinema describes the love that dare not speak its name

Now that Congressman Jeff Flake has announced his intention to run for the seat of retiring Arizona U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, it's safe to assume that state Senate president Russell Pearce will go after Flake's sixth district seat in 2012.

Actually, you don't have to assume it, the DC paper Roll Call has already reported that Pearce was making phone calls seeking endorsements as of Thursday, days before Flake officially announced.

Pearce has long coveted the seat, and he'd love to be a Congressman. Years ago, he formed an exploratory committee, donned a toupee, and began raising money, looking to take on the youthful, handsome Flake in a GOP primary. But it wasn't happening. And Pearce eventually announced he would remain in the Legislature.

As I've said many times, Pearce is incapable of running for a statewide seat of any kind -- governor, senator, you name it. 

Even in Sand Land, Pearce's various scandals, like once befriending neo-Nazi J.T. Ready, sending out anti-semitic e-mails to followers, and allegations of spousal abuse -- will not win him votes. Only within the confines of Legislative District 18 have voters seemed content to look the other way.

But can Pearce win over the electorate in Congressional District Six, a narrower bet than a statewide gig? 

Not if he has viable candidates confronting him in the primary and the general election. And if one of the two recalls underway in LD18 scores enough signatures for a recall election, I'd say he's finished in CD6, though he's likely to win the recall election itself. If you get recalled in your own little LD, it simply doesn't bode well for any higher ambitions you may have.

So in one way, I agree with state Senator Kyrsten Sinema's sentiments in this weekend's Sunday Square Off on Channel 12. She at first stated that she hopes Pearce does run. And I agree. Because in doing so, he'll have to relinquish his power as state Senate president. Also, he may end up losing. Which would be grand. 

But even if he doesn't lose, he'll be far less influential as one of 435 U.S. House members than he is now as president of the state Senate.

Sinema's other statement, to the effect that she hearts Pearce, is daft on numerous levels.

"Actually, I love Russell," she said just in time for Valentine's Day. "We get along very well, not always on policy matters, but on personal matters we do."

Most Dems love to hate Pearce, but Sinema just loves him. It's not the sort of legislative chumminess I'd like to hear from the mouth of the state Senate's most liberal member. I expect she'll be reminded of this declaration over and over by her progressive pals, particularly if she decides to seek higher office.


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