State Rep. Russell Pearce's wacko, wing-nut contributors...

Pearce pre-rug...

Pearce post-rug. The new look failed to fill the campaign coffers...

Remember when Paleolithic Republican state Rep. Russell Pearce was gonna run for Congress against GOP golden-boy, Congressman Jeff Flake? Pearce had an exploratory committee, and even started sporting a toupee in a failed attempt to look young -- at least he seemed to be wearing a rug in the banner for the committee's Web site. But Pearce finished exploring in early January, and decided not to challenge the popular, well-respected Flake.

"Ultimately, it came down to this," Pearce penned in a press release at the time. "I know that I will be more effective and have a greater influence on public policy issues important to Arizona as one of 30 in the state Senate rather than one of 435 in Washington, DC."

Thing is, Pearce's January 31, 2008 campaign finance report for money solicited from November 28, 2006 to December 31, 2007 shows a paltry $24K raised. The report is on file with Secretary of State Jan Brewer's office. Pearce has since transferred much of this money to some sort of state exploratory committee, according to the S.O.S., and Pearce will not have to account for it until the next reporting deadline in June.

On the federal level, the FEC has a letter from Pearce dated November 29, 2007, wherein he stated that he has raised in excess of $5K. Pearce told the feds at that time that he had not yet decided whether to be a candidate for Arizona's Sixth District Congressional Seat. There's nothing on file other than that. The FEC's backgound material for the press on "testing the waters" committees states, "An individual who merely tests the waters, but does not campaign for office, does not have to register or report as a candidate." Did Pearce take up a collection for his Congressional exploratory committee, then roll it over for his state Senate run once he opted out of the Congressional race? One FEC flack told me the feds would have no problem with this.

In any case, Opensecrets.org states that Flake's cash on hand is nearly a cool million: $974,536 to be precise, $890,974 of it raised for this election cycle. There's no way the poltroonish Pearce could've come close to Flake's take. The two men aren't even in the same league. No wonder Pearce punked out. Well, that, and essentially the state GOP told Pearce that Flake was their man.

As you might expect, Pearce's contributor list boasts its share of anti-brown clowns. Top of the list: Rusty "Crusty" Childress, head bigot over at United for a Sovereign America. Ever the cheapskate car-dealer, he gave a pitiful $182.31. Don"Goofy" Goldwater, nephew to Barry, and proof that the fruit sometimes falls faaar from the tree, ponied up $100. Minuteman honcho Chris Simcox, known by his detractors in that movement as "the Little Prince," lists himself as a "consultant" and lays $200 cash on Pearce, as well as $82.31 in goods and services. Looks like he, Rusty and a few others went Dutch on some campaign expense, hence the repeat of that $82.31 figure.

Al Rodriguez, of the F.A.I.R. (Federation for American Immigration Reform) offshoot You Don't Speak for Me donated $100. Rodriguez is one a very few anti-Hispanic Hispanics who offer their tokendom up for the nativist cause. He's appeared before state legislative committees, adding his StepinFetchit assent to anti-American bills such as SB 1108, meant to outlaw dissenting views in the classroom. Al, you're a credit to, um, la raza. Not.

No moolah from Mesa neo-Nazi J.T. Ready, one of Pearce's staunchest supporters. But then Ready doesn't look like the kind of cat who'd have an extra c-note or two handy. Them swastikas cost money, yo.

Take it as a sign of Pearce's weakness that he will have a primary this time 'round, and it sounds like it'll be no walk in the park. Jeff Flake's brother-in-law Kevin Gibbons will be taking on Pearce for the Republican nomination. The fact that Gibbons is, like Pearce, an LDS member, will help him against Russ in the heavily Mormon enclave of Mesa. The Republican primary will likely decide the contest. Let's hope the best Mormon wins.

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