State Senator Steve Pierce was pegged by his Republican Senate colleagues to replace ousted former Senator Russell Pearce as the president of the Senate -- and Arizona Democrats aren't thrilled with the GOP's pick.
We commented yesterday that Pierce's taking over as Senate president seems like a standard case of "meet the new boss, same as the old boss." Arizona Democratic Party Chairman Andrei Cherny seems to agree.
"Were Senate Republicans wearing earplugs on Tuesday? Not only have they ignored the voters' message about Russell Pearce, they've replaced him with someone who votes with Pearce for birther bills and other out-of-touch legislation," Cherny says. "By replacing Russell Pearce with Steve Pierce, very little will change -- other than one vowel."
Until Cherny's reminder, we nearly forgot that Pierce supported the Arizona GOP's humiliating "Birther Bill."
The "Birther Bill" was Arizona's far-right-wing response to the continuously debunked conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama is not an American citizen. Even Governor Jan Brewer found the bill too nuts to attach her name to, and had the sense to veto it after it passed in the Legislature.
The bill would have required that presidential candidates prove to Arizona election officials that they were born in the United States before their name's allowed on the ballot in the Grand Canyon State -- despite it's already being a federal requirement to land the job.
But that's not all...
The original bill called for a long-form birth certificate to prove a candidate is a natural-born citizen, which was a little too much for some GOP lawmakers. So they made some amendments: if you can't find your birth certificate, and you have a penis, a document describing your lack of foreskin will suffice.
Read all about it here.
Embarrassing "Birther Bills" aside, as Cherny points out, Pierce sided with Pearce on a lot of legislation. However, he strayed from the then-Senate president in March when he voted against five Pearce-backed immigration bills, two of which were designed to force a U.S. Supreme Court decision on whether children of illegal immigrants should automatically be awarded U.S. citizenship.
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Pierce's voting no on the bills, as we mentioned yesterday, doesn't necessarily mean he's got a soft spot for illegal immigrants -- at the time, business leaders across the state were urging legislators to vote against the measures to avoid hurting the ailing economy.
Pierce is yet to return our call to chat about his new gig. However, he pretty much confirmed Cherny's suspicions to the Arizona Republic, telling the paper, "We're going to continue the good things that Russell [Pearce] started. He did a wonderful job. He did not deserve what happened to him."
"Meet the new boss -- same as the old boss."