Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio Recall: A Chance to Prove the Pundits Wrong

Page 3 of 3

Sadly, that cannot be counted on. The donkeys with the big bucks and/or the ability to raise those big bucks, such as Mario Diaz, whom I spoke with recently, don't see anything in it for them.

They are wrong about that, of course. The recall of Russell Pearce changed Arizona for the better, politically decapitating a colossus of the nativist movement, a man who boasted national prominence in the wake of SB 1070.

Which brings me back to what the pundits were saying about the Pearce recall when it began in late January 2011.

Basically, they gave it the same chance of success that Roberts gives the Arpaio recall.

In her recent column, she said a recall election now was as likely as Joe "being named Sheriff of the Year by Chicanos Por La Causa."

Flashback to January 30, 2011, when Roberts' curmudgeonly colleague Doug MacEachern, declared that Pearce was "safe," because, historically, he had dominated LD 18 elections.

Dennis Welch, a veteran political reporter and a guy whose work I admire, dismissed the notion of recalling Pearce around the same time as MacEachern, calling the recall more "symbolic" than anything.

"Russell has been so unbelievably popular in his district," said Welch on Channel 8's Horizon. "People will tell you he fits that district perfectly."

Welch pointed out that the district was heavily weighted toward GOPers. He also saw the number of signatures necessary, close to 8,000, as daunting. Though that goal sure seems piddly by comparison to 335K-plus.

I don't mean to pick on either Welch or MacEachern, as most people didn't give the Pearce recall a snowball's chance in Yuma back then. Nor was victory ever certain. Many in the Fourth Estate thought Pearce would pull it out, up 'til the last minute.

Pearce, of course, lost by double digits to Jerry Lewis, also a conservative Republican and a Mormon. Lewis lacked Pearce's congenital hatefulness and bigotry. Recruited by his fellow LDS members, he was the perfect guy to take on the Mesa Goliath.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons