Andrew Sherwood, the Mesa Democrat who unsuccessfully took on Republican state Senator Russell Pearce in 2010 (before Pearce was Senate president), just called to let me know that he will not be throwing his derby in the ring for the November 8 recall election.
Sherwood came in second in a three-way race, scoring 10,663 votes to Pearce's 17,552. (Libertarian Andrea Garcia pulled 2,808 votes in the same contest.)
Not bad for a political newcomer with little money and only a modicum of support from his own party. Add to this, the disadvantage of being a Democrat in Legislative District 18.
An energetic candidate who was unafraid to challenge Pearce even on the issue of immigration, Sherwood has a bright future ahead of him in the Democratic Party. But he knows that this is not his time.
"This is not about me," he explained. "This is 100 percent about Russell Pearce. What people need to understand is, this is a non-partisan election."
Indeed, candidates will not be identified by party-affiliation on the ballot, but by their names alone.
Sherwood said he didn't know much about Jerry Lewis, the Republican Channel 12 recently outed as a potential Pearce challenger, but that he would support "the most viable candidate" against Pearce, whomever that might be.
As much as Pearce wants a partisan election, he won't be getting one," Sherwood noted in a statement he e-mailed me after we spoke. "We need a bipartisan coalition to defeat Russell Pearce and give Mesa the type of representation it deserves."
To which, I say, "Hell, yeah." If Sherwood was a selfish guy, he could run and he would likely score a respectable number of votes. But he knows that this is a once in a lifetime chance to retire Pearce from public life. And he's to be commended for making the right choice.
Sherwood's entire statement is below:
Defeating Russell Pearce in the Recall Election and Beyond
Russell Pearce has been recalled and must now stand for election on November 8, 2011.
This election is solely about the failures of Russell Pearce.
That is why 10,365 Mesa voters signed their names to recall him.
This election is about how he failed to change one word in state law that would give 15,000 Arizonans an unemployment extension at no cost to the state.
It's about his raising property tax bills on every Mesa property owner while cutting taxes for those in Fountain Hills and Scottsdale and other communities where his campaign donors live.
It's about his use of special interest funding with 98% of Pearce's 2010 campaign money coming from people living outside his district in Mesa.
It's about the East Valley Chamber ranking him next to last for "a business-friendly attitude" and 60 CEO's telling him to stop harming the state's economy.
It's about his policies that resulted in firing 5,000 teachers, eliminating 140,000 health care jobs through cuts to health care, and seeing 100,000 construction and service workers lose their jobs and many their homes due to foreclosure.
Finally, there's the Fiesta Bowl scandal, where Pearce appears to have received $38,000 of tickets and free trips.
As much as Pearce wants a partisan election, he won't be getting one. We need a bipartisan coalition to defeat Russell Pearce and give Mesa the type of representation it deserves.
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This is not a partisan election and I will not be running in this race.
I will support the most viable candidate to defeat Russell Pearce.
Former LD18 Senate Candidate