Frank Riggs "Proud" to Have Support of Recalled State Senator Russell Pearce; W/UPDATE

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Frank Riggs, a former California Congressman who wants to be Arizona's next governor, is "proud" to have the support of recalled State Senator and scandal-magnet, Russell Pearce.

Riggs is one of six candidates vying to win the Republican primary on August 26, which in red-state Arizona could be the deciding factor in this year's race for governor. He discusses why he's so happy for Pearce's endorsement in a news release sent out this morning.

But even conservatives like Riggs can't be very proud of Pearce's Fiesta Bowl scandal or the sham candidate he appears to have fielded in a desperate move to keep his seat in the 2011 recall campaign.

See also: -Al Melvin Quits Race for Governor

We left a message for Riggs this morning with his PR-woman, Darcie Johnston, asking where Riggs stands on those issues. If he calls back, we'll update this post with his response.

Riggs' news release quotes Pearce as saying, "After long and serious deliberation, I'm proud to support former police officer and U.S. Congressman Frank Riggs for Governor. I know Frank Riggs will use all the means at his disposal to defend our border and protect our citizens from the costs and damages associated with illegal immigration and border crimes by those who break our laws."

That's followed by Riggs' gushing, "I'm proud to have Sen. Pearce's support. He has been a national leader of the effort to restore constitutional government and has fought a long and courageous, but many times lonely, battle to secure our border, enforce the laws of our nation, and protect law-abiding citizens."

Immigration has certainly re-emerged as one of the biggest topics in Arizona, even though apprehensions along the state's southern border are at record lows.

However, is it really wise to support a disgraced politician the U.S. Navy all but called a liar in the Fiesta Bowl-ticket-mooching scandal? Does Riggs believe Pearce's version of how he got a free trip to a 2007 football game in Annapolis, Maryland?

And where does Riggs stand on how Pearce conducted himself during the recall campaign? Olivia Cortes, who would have drawn Democratic votes away from Pearce's GOP competitor, Jerry Lewis, seems to have entered the 2011 race with the prodding of Pearce. She withdrew from the race on the eve of a court hearing that threatened to expose the dirty game.

Riggs has been in Arizona since 2002, and -- according to Wikipedia, anyway -- wanted to be governor in 2006 but discovered he wasn't eligible.

Now he's raring to go, with a "small-government" mindset that somehow brings him to criticize SB 1062 but fully support SB 1070, and a ringing endorsement by one of the state's most polarizing politicians.

Of course, Riggs, one of the less-well-known in the pack of six candidates, is probably lucky to get an endorsement from anybody.

UPDATE: Riggs called us the day after this post was published.

Riggs says it's true that "recall elections are tricky," and that looking back over his own experience as an elected official, he'd do some things differently if given the "benefit of a do-over... but you don't get that choice."

Without coming out and saying it, he seems to implying that Pearce has done some regrettable things himself. However, ""on the whole, (Pearce) has served the state with distinction," Riggs says.

Since his recall, Pearce has been elected First Vice Chairman of the state Republican Party, Riggs points out. To Riggs, that means "the backbone of the party" has vindicated Pearce, "to the extend he needed a vindication."

Riggs adds that as a former police officer and deputy sheriff, he feels a professional kinship with Pearce, also a former deputy sheriff.

Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.

Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX. Follow Ray Stern on Twitter at @RayStern.

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