Russell Pearce's Willie Horton: White supremacist J.T. Ready.

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Jeez, dudes, get a room! J.T. Ready and Russell Pearce snuggling at an anti-immigrant rally in June.

Have you seen Russell Pearce's new toupee? Pearce sports his new rug on his Pearce for Congress Exploratory Committee Web site. He also loses the glasses in an obvious attempt to look younger than his 60 years on this Earth. Normally the grizzled old racist looks a tad older than 60, but he has to suck in his gut and play youthful now. He wants to trade in his rainmaker role in the State House for Congressman Jeff Flake's 6th District Congressional seat. Flake is young, handsome, vigorous. Pearce looks like he's one Denny's breakfast away from a coronary. The toupee is his way of trying not to look like the mean old man he is versus the dimple-chinned, fair-haired, Colgate-toothed Flake.

Pearce before his extreme makeover.

Pearce's after photo. Nice rug, Russ.

One thing that toupee will not hide is Pearce's bigotry towards Mexicans, and his unsavory connections to outright neo-fascists, such as Mesa's J.T. Ready, who recently took part in a neo-Nazi demonstration in downtown Omaha, Nebraska. After the demo, members of the swastika-wearing National Socialist Movement and fellow travelers retired to a local farm where they lit giant swastikas afire, listened to hate-core music, slam-danced, and barbecued a Mexican and an Israeli flag. Ready also keeps a page on the NSM's NewSaxon.org, a racist MySpace, "for Whites, by Whites." And he's attended the local neo-Nazi National Vanguard's Winterfest event. Reportedly in his Scottish kilt. Ooh-la-la.

Ready's a supporter of Pearce, and at a June anti-immigration rally at the State Capitol, the prejudiced pair spent almost all of their time with each other. They even appeared smiling and arm-in-arm in photos. In any other state, such damning pics would signal the end of a politician's career. Here in AZ, they're shrugged at by those in the nativist movement. That's because so many nativists see nothing wrong with neo-Nazis or their beliefs, beliefs which dovetail with their own.

But in 2006, when Pearce was caught forwarding an anti-Semitic e-mail to his supporters -- an e-mail from the neo-Nazi National Alliance, even Republicans bagged on him. None other than ultra-right Congressman J.D. Hayworth withdrew his support for Pearce's reelection to the State House. Hayworth lost to Democrat Harry Mitchell, and Pearce was reelected, despite the e-mail eff-up and despite his previous endorsement of the Eisenhower administration's "Operation Wetback," a 1954 INS deportation program. The voters in Pearce's State House district apparently had no problem with his views.

But in a higher-profile Congressional race, Pearce will not have it so easy. If Flake's campaign is smart, they will find ways to call attention to Pearce's reactionary views and his white supremacist pals. J.T. Ready could end up being Pearce's Willie Horton. You remember, the furloughed killer Bush, Sr., hung 'round the neck of Democrat Michael Dukakis in the '88 Presidential election. Though Ready did shoot at an illegal in an infamous incident when he was running unsuccessfully for Mesa City Council, he hasn't killed anyone. Still his friendliness with Pearce reveals Pearce's own racism. Why would a potential congressional candidate not disassociate himself from someone as revolting as Ready? It must be because they are in fundamental agreement.

At the time Pearce circulated that neo-Nazi e-mail, he said that a friend had sent it to him and he had not paid close attention to it. Could that friend have been J.T. Ready? Or does Pearce have other neo-Nazi buds we don't know about? I mean, would it surprise you one bit if he did?

J.T. Ready, the Ernst Roehm of the East Valley, second from right, at a neo-Nazi rally in Omaha earlier this month.

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