Feathered Bastard

Russell Pearce's "Arizona Teacher's [sic] Association": Olivia Cortes Part 2? (w/Updates)

See also: Russell Pearce's New Signs Tout His "Eduction" (w/Update) See also: Russell Pearce on Blast for Racist E-mails in New Dennis Gilman Video See also: Russell Pearce Blames Victims for Dark Knight Massacre (w/Update)

(And please see updates below.)

As the saying goes, you can't make this stuff up.

On Wednesday, I published a blog post discussing recalled, ex-state Senator Russell Pearce's misspelled "Eduction" campaign sign, as well as another Russ placard that boasts an endorsement from the "Arizona Teacher's [sic] Association."

A teachers association that has trouble spelling its own name? Sounds like a red flag, dontcha think?

Yesterday, my afternoon was taken up with watching the ACLU's Melendres trial down at the federal courthouse (a post to follow). Still, I was able to do a little research via iPhone during breaks and afterward.

This is what I discovered.

A man by the name of John Hedgpeth associates himself with the ATA in a letter he wrote opposing the Top Two/Open Elections ballot initiative. The letter is on file with the Arizona Secretary of State's Office, and is one of many statements pro and con that will appear in a voters guide.

Hedgpeth signs beneath the name "ARIZONA TEACHERS ASSOCIATION" (kudos to Mr. Hedgpeth for winning the spelling bee). His signature is notarized by none other than Maricopa County GOP Chairman Rob Haney, a longtime member of the Pearce Kool-Aid club.

A separate page listed what I thought was Hedgpeth's phone number. I called and ended up conversing for quite a while with local Tea Party stalwart Ron Ludders, who some may remember as being the chair of the pro-Pearce PAC Safeguard Arizona's Future.

That organization was responsible for last-minute robocalls during the Pearce recall election. The recordings featured a cheesy, low-rent Ricardo Montelban-esque voice encouraging Latino Democrats to cast a "protest" vote by writing-in their own candidate.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons