Though I figured Matt Tolman's dirty tricks eventually would backfire on the Pearce camp, I had no idea the blowback would come so quickly or from such an official source.
Tolman is the chairman of Citizens Who Oppose the Pearce Recall, which recently posted signs in Legislative District 18 bearing false charges against Randy Parraz, co-founder of Citizens for a Better Arizona, the group that's been successful in forcing a recall election of state Senate President Russell Pearce.
See, rather than attack Boy Scout Mormon Republican Jerry Lewis, Pearce's main challenger, Pearce and hobbits like Tolman want to hang Parraz, a certified lefty, around Lewis' neck. Hence the sleazy signs.
But according to a killer article in today's Arizona Republic by veteran reporter Gary Nelson, Mesa wants the signs down, declaring them "illegal," apparently because they are not code-compliant and do not list contact info for Tolman's group.
Which, of course, prompts the obvious question: What is it about the word "illegal" that Pearce and his hateful cronies do not understand?
Meanwhile, Parraz and CBA chairman Chad Snow are threatening legal action over the signs, and have a press conference scheduled for today to address this and other issues.
They also promise to be discussing the alleged shill candidacy of Olivia Cortes. I can't make the presser, but Parraz told me via phone that CBA will call Cortes out as a Pearce plant.
"Everything that we're hearing on the ground, and through individuals that do not want to go public yet, is that there have been some fraudulent activities going on [regarding Cortes' campaign]," he told me.
Cortes denied such allegations in an e-mail Q & A I posted a little while back.
The benefit to Pearce of having a candidate on the ballot with a Latino last name is obvious. Diluting the vote by stacking the November 8 ballot would be a no-brainer strategy on the Pearce camp's part. Wouldn't surprise me if that's going on.
Interestingly, I just called Clean Elections, where Executive Director Todd Lang told me that no candidates in the Pearce recall election have submitted the required $5 contributions to qualify as CE candidates. The deadline to do so was August 11.
But when she filed her notice with the Arizona Secretary of State's Office, Cortes listed herself as a candidate "participating" in Clean Elections. Perhaps the retired Mesa resident will be self-funding. Gotta use those Social Security checks for somethin'.
But back to Tolman, who is a nasty little snit who likes to post false rumors on his Facebook page, like one where he stated, "Randy Parraz and recall group promise Jerry Lewis $100,000 to run against Senator Russell Pearce."
Blatantly untrue, but Tolman seems to figure that all's fair in war and political shenanigans. the spelling-challenged hack recently posted the following comment to FB:
"Political free speech is one of the most protected forms of speech. Randy Parraz and Amy other candidate or spokes for a campaign is also a public figure. Don't like it don't speak out."
Which is why I've posted the info above from recall supporter Carolyn Cooper's FB page. I'm sure the photo in question is innocent. But can you imagine what Tolman would do if a similar pic were on an FB page for Lewis or Parraz? I certainly can.
In other Pearce-recall related news, both CBA's lawyer Tom Ryan and pro-Pearce lawyer Lisa Hauser have petitioned the Arizona Supreme Court to hear Hauser's appeal of a lower court's dismissal of her suit challenging the recall.
Both Hauser and Ryan have submitted their opening briefs in the matter, which was recently kicked down the Arizona Court of Appeals after Hauser goofed on some procedural issues in going directly to the Supremes.
You can read Ryan's brief, here. I think you'll find that it kicks much backside.
In it, Ryan goes through why a referendum has a higher standard of review than a recall, why using the word "genuine" in the recall statement is unnecessary, and why you need not throw out an entire petition sheet if one signature thereon is illegitimate.
"Since 1925 our Supreme Court has consistently held that the laws regarding recall shall be liberally construed in favor of permitting recall elections," writes Ryan. "All that is required for a recall to move forward is for the petitioners to substantially comply with the law.
"Appellant now seeks to undo nearly eighty-six years of jurisprudence, but sets forth no valid reason for doing so, other than, `this is a hard case.' It is not."
You can peruse Hauser's brief, here. It basically regurgitates all of her arguments before Superior Court Judge Hugh Hegyi and asks for 90 years of precedent to be thrown out the car window. A long shot at best.
Quite a little circus this Pearce recall's turning out to be. Expect it to remain that way right through November 8, and then some.
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