Russell Pearce's Olivia Cortes Scandal: Video

This is part one of a video report on the shenanigans taking place at a recent Legislative District 19 GOP meeting in Mesa, which I blogged about yesterday. My colleague, videographer Dennis Gilman, will follow up with a part two, containing even juicier clips.

Can anyone now doubt that Olivia Cortes is a plant by supporters of state Senate President Russell Pearce? The intention, according to Cortes' paid petition gatherers, is to "dilute" the vote, by shaving away support for Mesa educator and former CPA Jerry Lewis. The pro-Pearce crowd hopes this will ensure a Pearce victory in the November 8 recall election.

However, the Cortes scandal continues to widen, delivering a PR nightmare to Pearce's doorstep. How to remedy this? Rumors abound, but one of the most plausible is that at some point, Pearce will ask Cortes to withdraw her candidacy. 

This would paint Pearce as an honorable man, while leaving Cortes' name on the ballot, and her notorious "Si se puede" signs up around Mesa. In other words, it would be a cynical gesture on Pearce's part, which is one reason why it seems so plausible.

In asking Cortes to withdraw, Pearce does not have to admit any knowledge of his supporters' shenanigans. And Cortes can continue to hide out in her modest Mesa apartment. The damage has already been done, and cannot be withdrawn.

It is incumbent upon the local press to continue to expose this sham for what it is, especially the local Spanish-language media, which has been slow to respond to Cortes' insulting candidacy. Only recently have some Spanish-language reporters begun to press the issue. They need to do more.

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