As State Senate President Russell Pearce spews falsehoods about the recall effort and throws temper tantrums on national TV, that effort grinds inexorably on toward its ultimate conclusion: a recall election in either November or March.
The Arizona Secretary of State's Office has today forwarded signatures submitted by recall organizers earlier this week to the Maricopa County Recorder's Office for verification.
In the language of SOS spokesman Matt Roberts, Citizens for a Better Arizona submitted a "purported" 18,315 signatures on Tuesday to the SOS calling for a recall of Pearce. The SOS examined them, and submitted 1,648 petition sheets containing 16,949 signatures to the recorder, according to Roberts.
"Signatures or sheets were eliminated due to various reasons," he explained in an e-mail, "including the date of signature missing, residential address missing, signature missing, city or state missing, or couldn't determine date of notarization etc."
CBA chairman Chad Snow and CBA organizer Randy Parraz told me that recall organizers were validating the names themselves up until about the 9,000 or 10,000 mark, when they knew they had enough to force a recall. The number required by law is 7,756 valid signatures for registered voters in Pearce's Legislative District 18.
Both said they wanted to make a point by turning in more signatures than Pearce received votes in 2010.
"At the end of the day, if 8,000 signatures are thrown out and 8,000 are kept, he's still recalled," Parraz said of Pearce.
However, I can predict the cavils of Pearce supporters, who will allege "fraud," and hope the smear sticks. Though such smears will not halt the election from happening.
And the fact that the SOS finished its initial work before its 10 day time limit opens the window a smidgen to the election occurring in November, assuming the other parties involved don't take the full time they are allotted.
Though, I don't see a problem with a March election. It might even be more fun watching the President of the Senate battling for his political life with the Legislature in session.
In reply to the recall, Pearce has taken to spitting untruths about his opposition, calling them names, slandering them in the media.
Indeed, Pearce is in full on hissy fit mode, being untruthful about the recall effort in the hopes of garnering sympathy (and money) from his fellow wingnut nativists.
In a press release published Tuesday by the tres conservative Sonoran Alliance Web site, Pearce called the recall effort "a group of outside interests," referring to recall campaigners as "outsiders" more than once.
This is, of course, total bull. Chad Snow, the recall campaign's chairman has lived his whole life in Arizona. All of his family dwells here. He attended Glendale Community College, went on to ASU, and got his law degree there.
Randy Parraz has lived in Arizona for several years. First from 2002 to 2004. He returned in 2007, and ran in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate in 2010.
As far as the volunteers involved in gathering signatures, all of them have to be registered voters. Many of the signature collectors I've spoken with are from Pearce's district. And many are Republicans. Some are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, just like Chad Snow. (Note: LD18 is heavily Mormon.)
Concerning the contributions CBA's received, Parraz says that of the online donations, 93 percent came from in-state.
Interestingly, Pearce's lawyer Lisa Hauser recently made a complaint to the SOS, alleging that the CBA had violated campaign finance laws.
But that complaint was quickly shot down by state Election Director Amy Bjelland (a Republican, BTW), who informed Hauser that the SOS had already researched the issue, and she was wrong. (You can read Bjelland's response, here.)
According to SOS spokesman Roberts, if there is a November election, the recall committee will have to file its financials with the SOS by October 27. If the election is held in March, by January 31, 2011.
Hauser, who must be one cracker jack pettifogger, also wrote Bjelland, claiming that the newly formed anti-recall committee, Citizens Who Oppose the Pearce Recall, could accept donations from corporations and unions, if forthcoming.
Bjelland, in a letter you can read, here, rebutted that premise with solid legal precedent. What union would want to give money to Pearce anyway? As far as corporations go, only a self-destructive one would fork over loot to Pearce, because it then would be forever synonymous with his hateful name.
And on a recent edition of Greta Van Sustren's show on Fox News, Pearce lost it, calling the recall organizers and volunteers "extreme leftist anarchists." He literally looked like he was about to pop a vein.
Pearce does not get a pass for his histrionics. His claim is pure fiction.
Snow is a registered Republican. And as local affiliate Fox 10 demonstrated in the report embedded above, many of the supporters of the recall are mothers, grandmothers, LDS members, and conservative Republicans.
So, um, where are all these "anarchists"? Parraz and Snow are rigorously adhering to laws regarding recalls and petitions and have been working with the SOS from jump on this project. Does that sound like a bunch of "anarchists" to you?
I guess this is what plays to Pearce's loony, nativist fan base, the people dumb enough to write this loser a check. But it won't save Pearce when it comes time for voters to decide to boot him or not.
Snow recalled that famous quote, I think from American writer Elbert Hubbard, or someone along those lines, that, "If you can't answer a man's arguments, all is not lost; you can still call him vile names."
And that is all Pearce has got at this point. He won't shuffle off the scene quietly. That's not his style.
The man lacks all grace, subtlety, good humor and humility. Plus, he sports a political tin ear. He's never really had to campaign in his own district, and I doubt he could win one outside of it.
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Sure, he scored the Senate presidency, but he did that by bullying and misleading his own caucus. Those are the two main arrows in his quiver. He'd never make it in a race for Congress, a statewide office, or even a county-wide office.
Say what you want about Sheriff Joe Arpaio, but Arpaio has, despite his nefariousness, political skills that Pearce could never learn, and could never dream of possessing.
In other words, Pearce is ripe for a take-down. All the anti-Pearce forces need now is a Mormon Republican from LD18 who is not a complete wacko like Pearce, and Pearce will be history.
In the process, look for Pearce to become more and more unbalanced and erratic, further damaging his chances of survival. Pride goeth before a fall, and over the next few months, Pearce will squirm mightily as he is force-fed his comeuppance.