Feathered Bastard

Russell Pearce Operative Matt Tolman's Bag of Dirty Tricks

If you need a sign of state Senate President Russell Pearce's desperation, look no further than above: one of the placards sprouting up around Mesa, smearing the recall effort, Citizens for a Better Arizona co-founder Randy Parraz, and Pearce challenger Jerry Lewis.

The sign, the product of Citizens Who Oppose the Pearce Recall, is chock full of outright bull. Parraz has no "candidates" in the recall, does not support "open borders" or oppose "the rule of law." 

That second charge is actually laughable. Parraz's father was a sergeant with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office. And everything he's done in this recall effort has complied with state statute. 

Which is one reason why Pearce's legal challenge to the recall recently failed in superior court.

Parraz was once a union organizer, but is not one now. Labor unions are not "supporting" him, much less the recall. He is a Democrat, though no extremist. He's never advocated for the boycott of Arizona.

As for gay marriage, Parraz is for equality, and during his U.S. Senate campaign said that "you get what I get," in regards to civil rights.

During one stump speech, he related that his gay friends had asked him if he would advocate for gay marriage.

"I said, `No,'" he quipped. "`I'm not advocating for heterosexual marriage, I'm a divorced father.'"

As is Pearce from his first wife, BTW, but I digress.

What does all this have to do with Mormon Republican Jerry Lewis? Um, nothing. But the Pearce camp can't run against Lewis. He's too clean and well-regarded in Legislative District 18.

So Pearce has to run against the recall, and tie Parraz around Lewis' neck, even though both Republicans and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were instrumental in making the recall a success.

Pearce's camp is also resorting to various dirty tricks, which is to be expected from a campaign run by political sleaze-meister Chuck Coughlin.

Matt Tolman, chairman of Citizens Who Oppose the Pearce Recall, operates his own anti-Lewis rumor mill on his Facebook page, where he has claimed that Parraz bribed Lewis to get into the race, a bald-faced prevarication.

He also has attempted to deflect speculation concerning the authorship of the fake Jerry Lewis Twitter account, by suggesting Lewis' people may have created it.

That Twitter account is now deactivated due to the complaints raised by Lewis' folks. Why would they put up a fake Twitter account sliming their man, then make sure it was taken down? This sort of logic only makes sense to haters like Tolman.

Tolman peddles real-estate and dabbles in politics, having run unsuccessfully in the past for the Mesa City Council. 

Will Pearce denounce the reprehensible tactics of his followers? He should be pressured to do so, though I doubt he will. 

The good news is that the whisper campaigns, the fake Twitter accounts, the rumor-mongering, the phony opponents and the signs full of falsehoods will, I predict, precipitate a backlash. And that backlash will result in the end of Pearce's political career.

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