Watch it and weep, Mesa Republicans ignored this info about Pearce and so much more.
Nearly 70 percent of Republican primary voters in LD18 were unconcerned with Russell Pearce playing patty-cake with a neo-Nazi. Indeed, that neo-Nazi, the now infamous J.T. Ready, told me he voted for Pearce and still considered Pearce to be a "statesman," the word he used to describe Pearce during an anti-immigrantion rally in June of 2007. Pearce applauded Ready's speech then -- one advocating nationwide martial law, and worked the crowd with the rotund Stormtrooper. No election will alter that fact.
Nor does an election by like-minded conservative moonhowlers change the reality Pearce sent a virulent, anti-Semitic e-mail to his supporters, that he's openly advocated the return of the Eisenhower-era's anti-brown "Operation Wetback," or that he's proposed numerous pieces of legislation that read more like something out of the bad old days of the Jim Crow South or South Africa's Apartheid government. One proposal would have denied American children born of undocumented parents a birth certificate in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Another would have prevented American citizens from marrying non-citizens in Arizona.
Fortunately, these wacko statutes never hit the books, but if Pearce is returned to the legislature, you can be sure he will once more set to work introducing and reintroducing such xenophobic trash, trying to get it passed.
Essentially, the six thousand-plus persons (they're still counting the ballots) who cast a vote for Pearce are as close to Pearce on the topic of the undocumented as Pearce is to J.T. Ready on the issue. Which is to say, pretty close. These God-fearing, upright souls had to look the other way at allegations of domestic violence, and they had to stick their necks deep in the wet cement to ignore the rehash of Pearce's corruption while he was director of ADOT's Motor Vehicle Division. The corruption was so rank during Pearce's tenure during the late '90s, Pearce was fired by a fellow Republican, now Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters.
Rabid East Valley Republicans (a special breed, indeed), also had to swallow Pearce's hypocrisy in taking government funds to operate his campaign, as he did by running as a Clean Elections candidate. This, from an anti-tax zealot who has done his best to bring state government to its knees rather than compromise on the budget.
Jeez, how badly do these guys hate Mexicans, anyway? These close-eared, close-eyed and close-brained Rebubliloons endured a ceaseless barrage of anti-Pearce mailers from GOP Prince of Darkness Nathan Sproul. (God love him.) Never mind the news reports and documented facts backing up these fliers. Sproul could have published photos of a one-eyed Pearce eating cocaine-encrusted fetuses in a cabbage patch. It wouldn't have made a dang bit of difference to these uber-right know-nothings.
All because Pearce despises the brown folk, just like they do.
You could build a small pyramid with the rocks in these Mesans' noggins. Kevin Gibbons' candidacy was likely doomed from day one, fishing for votes amongst these flinty cerebellums. Still, in true Gary Cooper fashion, Gibbons faced off the fellas in the black hats. That Gibbons was outgunned by a force of ideological Neanderthals is nothing for him to be ashamed of. He represented the party of Lincoln, Eisenhower, Goldwater and Reagan. A party these six-thousand-plus have shirked.
Pearce and his followers have more in common with the party David Duke represented when he ran as a Republican in Louisiana for Senator and pulled 44 percent of the vote. They've decided there's no shame in hobnobbing with National Socialists, no dishonor in dabbling with the tenets of racism. Everything is forgiven if you're on their side. No offense is too small if you are not.
However, there are only so many of them, and they can be outnumbered in a general election that has rockstar Barack Obama at the top of the ticket. Sproul has softened up Pearce for the Dems, and newcomer Judah Nativio. Now, we just have to hope young Judah can deliver the coup de grace to Pearce's career.
Even if he cannot, opposing Pearce and exhuming the skeletons in his closet has reminded the wider world of what Pearce is really all about. He might return to the legislature, but Pearce will never have a shot at Congress or be able to run for some statewide office. (I also suspect his legislative influence will be diminished. Outside of Mesa, Pearce's name is merde.) He will be forever quarantined politically to that benighted burg of Mesa, repping the bigots therein by devising new torments for Arizona Hispanics.The Grand Wizard of the East Valley, minus the sheets.
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.