Russell Pearce Connection Denied by Ralph Heap, Evidence to the Contrary Notwithstanding

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

Recently, I addressed the issue of whether or not Republican state Senate hopeful Ralph Heap is a "revenge candidate" for recalled, disgraced former state Senate President Russell Pearce, currently First Vice Chair of the Arizona GOP.

Heap is taking on state Senator Bob Worsley, the guy who buried Pearce by 12 points in the 2012 Republican primary in Legislative District 25.

Seems Heap's campaign was being serviced by sleaze-maestro and Pearce-pimp Constantin Querard. Pearce's nephew Talmage Pearce also was involved in selling Heap to tuskers.

Thing is, Russell Pearce's stock has fallen so low that many in his hometown of Mesa regard him as a political liability, particularly the folks in LD 25 whom Heap wants to woo -- conservatives who helped put Pearce out to pasture in 2011 by supporting Jerry Lewis in the recall election.

Enter Chris Baker, a political consultant whose career has been intertwined with Querard's. Essentially, Baker declared that henceforth neither Querard nor Talmage Pearce would have anything to do with the Heap campaign.

Thus, putting a little daylight between Heap and Pearce.

Save for one big catch: Republican precinct committeewoman Barbara Parker is running the day-to-day operations of the Heap effort, according to Baker.

"The campaign has been managed by Barbara Parker from the get-go," Baker told me, denying Talmage ever managed it.

(Talmage, too, denied any formal role in the campaign, while admitting that he supported Heap and had sent e-mails and done Facebook posts on Heap's behalf.)

Baker made clear that Parker would continue in her role as campaign manager going forward.

Problem is, Parker is known to her detractors as "Russell Pearce in lipstick."

She's a pro-Pearce loyalist, a Tea Party gal, who has donated money to Pearce, campaigned for him during the recall, and defended him publicly.

I remember her from an infamous meeting in 2011 of what was then the LD 19 Republicans, where a resolution against the Pearce recall in nearby LD 18 was being debated.

The debate over the resolution was captured by Dennis Gilman at the time. Gilman and I were both in attendance as Pearce was accused of hurting the economy and the reputation of Arizona.

Parker rose to speak in Pearce's favor.

"Arizona is stronger than its ever been," Parker assured the assembled. "We have a wonderful reputation in Arizona. Thanks to all of [Russell Pearce's] efforts in 1070 and everything he's done. And I can't see that there would ever be anyone that would ever want to undo that."

That Kool-Aid ain't just for drinkin.' Apparently, Parker bobs for apples in it, too.

Baker denied that anyone recruited Heap to run, though it should tell you something about Heap's campaign, when Baker's averring that it has been managed by Parker "from the get go."

I called Heap to ask him directly about Parker, and about the fact that he had deleted a photo of himself and Pearce from his Facebook site, a photo I used in my original post on this topic.

(Note: Mesa Republic columnist John D'Anna also also mentioned the mystery of the missing Pearce pic in a recent piece.)

"I don't know Russell Pearce," he explained, sounding perturbed. "When I started to run . . . I called Bob Worsley first. I met him first. Never met him before that time. Never had a conversation since. I called Russell Pearce. I said I'd be happy to talk with you. I talked to him, haven't seen him, haven't talked to him since."

And what about Barbara Parker?

"Barbara Parker's involved in this campaign," he stated. "I think that's enough information, and that's the story. That's not the story that's coming out, but I don't know these gentlemen.

"I'm running because I'm committed to what I believe in, and that's it for that."

He then hung up on me.

Neither Barbara Parker, nor Chris Baker (who spoke to me for the previous item) have returned multiple calls for comment.

Heap's claim that he doesn't know Pearce and has met him only once, makes me wonder.

Did that one and only meeting take place at the LD 25 event, where that pic of Heap and Pearce was taken?

Also, why did he remove the photo? The photo was removed after I first e-mailed Heap about his connection to Pearce clan. But I already had copied it.

Since Heap's not answering me, maybe some of his fellow GOPers can put those questions to him next time they run into him out on the campaign trail.

Got a tip for The Bastard? Send it to: Stephen Lemons.

Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX. Follow Stephen Lemons on Twitter at @StephenLemons.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.