Feathered Bastard

Russell Pearce Nabs First Vice Chair, Ron Paul Dominates Straw Poll at State GOP Meeting

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Pearce left nothing to chance. One state committeeman I know told me he had received a robo-call on Pearce's behalf, an unusual expense in a race for an unpaid, second-fiddle slot.

The former Senator worked the crowd throughout the day, and when he took the stage to speak, he was joined by a lineup of noted backers, including Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Congressman Trent Franks, Maricopa County GOP Chair Rob Haney, and state Senators Andy Biggs, Ron Gould and Sylvia Allen.

Pearce spoke briefly, a rah-rah address wherein he touted his passage of Arizona's breathing-while-brown law Senate Bill 1070 and condemned the federal government both for suing the state over the statute and for going after Arpaio.

"This state is the battleground for what's right with America," he asserted. "And the rest of the nation follows."

Others then spoke on his behalf. Franks mentioned Pearce's recent recall loss, and framed the First Vice Chair race as a Pearce comeback effort.

"Today, by the grace of God, it's our chance to see that [Pearce] rises to fight again," he said.

Biggs called Pearce "a true American and Arizona hero," but Haney topped both Biggs' and Franks' blandishments.

"When you and I are gone, if anybody's profile is carved into Camelback Mountain, it'll be Russell Pearce's," he told the crowd.

Republican PC Art "Tudy" Olivas, an anti-Hispanic Hispanic along the lines of Anna Gaines, gave Pearce his last and most memorable endorsement.

"The Latino community needs Russell Pearce," he declared. "Needs Sheriff Joe. [And needs] the Republican party to get behind them, damnit, and get these illegals the hell out of here!"

The crowd roared its approval.

Prior to the Pearce cult taking its turn on stage, Ortiz-Parsons made a passionate appeal to remain as First Vice Chair.

She said she wanted to keep Arizona a red state, and claimed that Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi's daughter was in-state forming "cells" to infiltrate Arizona Tea Parties.

Ortiz-Parsons touted her record as First Vice Chair, and the shoe-leather and elbow grease she'd expended while working for Republican candidates. 

She boasted that she'd been an elected precinct committee person for nearly 20 years and in 2011 was given an award for being the state GOP's most valuable volunteer. 

"Russell, you don't have to worry about my family," she said in a dig at Pearce, who was sitting before her. "In the 1700s my family sold the land for the first presidio. And like them, I too believe in border security."

Her supporters stood behind her as well, though none spoke. Dan Grimm, who was deeply involved in Olivia Cortes's sham candidacy during the recall election, was one of them. 

There was also an African-American gentleman standing behind Ortiz-Parsons, as she claimed the GOP was an inclusive institution.

"For as diverse as this group is up here...that's how diverse Arizona's AZ GOP [sic] is," she insisted.

Since Ortiz-Parsons and this man were two of the few minorities present, she may have had a point, though probably not the one she intended.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons