Feathered Bastard

Russell Pearce Resigns as AZ GOP's First Vice Chair Because of Sterilization Remarks

Recalled ex-state Senate President Russell Pearce resigned Sunday night from his position as first vice chair of the Arizona Republican Party, following a bruising weekend during which congressional and statewide GOP candidates, among others, condemned remarks Pearce made September 9 on his weekly talk radio show.

In a press release issued by the Arizona Republican Party, Pearce formally submitted his resignation to state GOP chairman Robert Graham, saying he was doing so for the sake of the party.

The release reads:

"As an unapologetic conservative, I've stood up for the rule of law and our constitutional freedoms. I love this great Republic and have loved serving Arizona and my service with the Republican party. Recently on my radio show there was a discussion about the abuses to our welfare system. I shared comments written by someone else and failed to attribute them to the author. This was a mistake. This mistake has been taken by the media and the left and used to hurt our Republican candidates.

"I do not want the progressive left and the media to try and take a misstatement from my show and use it to attack our candidates. I care about the Republican party and its conservative platform too much to let them do that. Yet I have to recognize that hosting a radio show and the nature of the debates that we have had and will continue to have are incompatible with what our Party needs from its leadership team.

"For that reason, I am submitting my resignation as a Vice Chairman of the Republican party. I will never back down from standing up for what I believe in and I will continue to fight for the principles that our founding generation risked their lives for. But I have no intention of being used as a distraction by the Democrats looking to escape responsibility for their failed policies. It is time to return the focus to where it belongs, and that is the direction that our state and country should be headed towards. Let's get back to winning in November!"

See also: -Pearce Disses Government 
Programs for the Poor, While Helping to Run One -Sean Noble Calls on Russell Pearce to Resign for His Remarks on the Coerced Sterilization -Mark Brnovich Condemns Sterilization Comments by Russell Pearce -Ducey, McSally, Tobin Join in Condemnation of Russell Pearce

The statement is highly disingenuous. During the broadcast in question, Pearce borrowed heavily from a 2010 letter to the editor of the Waco Tribune, owning the words as if they were his own.

Listen to the words that resulted in Pearce's resignation

In fact, he was speaking to a caller at the time when he said the following:

"You put me in charge of Medicaid, the first thing I'd do is get [female recipients] Norplant, birth-control implants, or tubal ligations. Then, we'll test recipients for drugs and alcohol, and if you want to [reproduce] or use drugs or alcohol, then get a job."

In the coming days, as Arizona Democrats and local reporters fall all over themselves to triumph in Pearce's most recent downfall, remember this: It was Republican strategist Sean Noble who first called on Pearce to step down.

The Arizona Democratic Party followed, as did other Republicans, some of whom simply condemned Pearce's words, others of whom said Pearce should resign.

I was the first to report Pearce's statements. It's safe to say that if I had not reported them, the story would not have been picked up by other outlets, such as The Raw Story, which posted a clip of the radio show on YouTube.

Though Pearce's condemnation of government programs for the poor was wide-ranging, he ironically still holds a position with the Maricopa County Treasurer's Office, overseeing the Elderly Assistance Fund, a program that helps low-income, elderly home owners reduce their property taxes.

Pearce, who is a steadfast opponent of "big government," is on salary with the county for a whopping $85,000 per year. He started his job at the end of July, after being hired earlier that month by fellow Republican, County Treasurer Charles "Hos" Hoskins.

The Republicans acted this weekend to rid themselves of a serious liability, one that has festered for years.

Here's hoping they keep daylight between themselves and Pearce indefinitely.

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