Feathered Bastard

Russell Pearce's "Friends of Russell," and Brent Ellsworth's Vivisection of RP

See also: Russell Pearce's "Friends" List Contains Jerry Lewis Supporters, and, Apparently, Dead People See also: Russell Pearce Scores David Schweikert's Endorsement, at Long Last See also: An AZ Latino Republican Association Leader Aided Sham Candidate Olivia Cortes

There's a not-so-fine line between chutzpah and shamelessness, and those familiar with disgraced, recalled former state Senate President Russell Pearce know that Pearce long ago barreled past that line, deep into the weeds of total indifference to the niceties of civilization.

Yet more evidence of Pearce's rude, crude and socially unacceptable behavior comes to us via Mesa lawyer Brent Ellsworth in his essay "The Case Against Russell Pearce." A former Pearce supporter who's seen the light, Ellsworth methodically vivisects Pearce's career, while endorsing nice-guy businessman Bob Worsley, Pearce's rival in the Legislative District 25 GOP primary for state Senate.

Pearce has always had trouble with endorsements, fake ones and real ones, biting him where the sun don't shine. And the "Friends of Pearce" page on Pearce's campaign website is part of this pattern. I've discussed in the past how Pearce has dead people listed on this page, and how if you endorse Pearce, you essentially endorse him for life.

See, ol' Russ doesn't bother with asking folks if he can use their names, as was the case when he just assumed Republican Congressman David Schweikert had given him his nod, when he hadn't. (Pearce finally asked for it, and Schweikert acquiesced.)

Ellsworth had his own experience as an F.O.R. during last year's historic recall election, which Pearce lost to newcomer Jerry Lewis by a whopping 12 points. The attorney relates this story in a section of his essay titled, "Perpetual Endorsement."

Ellsworth writes:

"One morning during the recall, in which I publicly supported and endorsed Jerry Lewis, I was casually browsing through the Pearce website for the first time. I clicked on the `Friends of Russell' link, curious to see who I might know who was supporting Pearce in the recall. I was shocked and pretty ticked off when I saw my name listed as endorsing Pearce.

"I wrote a stern letter to Pearce, stating he was not authorized to use my name in any way and to remove it immediately, which he did. I'm sure there are others who are unaware their names appear as endorsing Pearce. I assume these are individuals who have endorsed Pearce in the past, but the sneaky and inaccurate message communicated is that all of the individuals listed on his `Friends' list are current supporters of Pearce.22

"Proper campaign protocol would be to always contact and reconfirm an endorsement when there is a subsequent race before publicly restating a prior endorsement because voters may switch allegiance, depending on the identity of the new opponent(s). Not so with Pearce, who must arrogantly assume all who endorsed him in any political race, no matter how long ago, must also intend to endorse him in all future political races."

Ellsworth also offers the example of former state Senate President and speaker of the state House Stan Turley, a highly-respected Mesa resident, who is listed, wrongly, as an F.O.R.

"How am I certain Stan does not endorse Pearce in this race?" asks Ellsworth rhetorically. "Because he publicly announced his endorsement of Bob Worsely long ago, and he recently wrote a classic `My Turn' piece in the Arizona Republic, in which he surgically diced up Pearce (and two other candidates), comparing him to a frog getting squished by a truck on a highway. Ouch!"

Indeed, despite all this, Turley is still listed as an F.O.R., as is the late Lee Degroff, whom I wrote about during the recall, and who can no longer support Pearce, save in the afterlife.

It's always amazed me that Pearce has gotten away with this sort of cheap dishonesty for so long. This is how you know that there is something psychologically wrong with Pearce. He lies when he can easily be caught lying, when he doesn't need to lie, and where lying will alienate those who might support him.

Pearce is a pathological liar, a deeply dishonest and corrupt man. He is not even a very good liar, but lying seems so ingrained in him that he does it by reflex, as if it were a result of muscle memory. A psychologist would have a field day comparing Pearce's behavior with the criminal mind.

His brother Lester Pearce exhibits similar behavior. Other family members act as enablers and boosters, such as his sister-in-law (Lester's wife) Kathy, who according to the Secretary of State's office, recently formed an independent expenditure group called, ironically, "Citizens 4 Civility."

(Note: There is also a Kathy who is a Pearce sister, so it may be the sis, not the sister-in-law.)

Look for those last minute smears of Worsley, paid for by Kathy, no doubt with a back-door infusion of cash from Lester. You can pretty much guarantee that they will play havoc with the truth.

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