Arizona Senate President Loses Recall Vote

Election centered on the immigration law he championed
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2011 10:56 AM CST
Arizona Senate President Loses Recall Vote
Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, left, addresses the media late Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011 in Mesa, Ariz. as Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpiao, right, listens.   (AP Photo/Matt York)

An underfunded upstart challenger appears to have knocked out Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, in a historic recall election seen mainly as a referendum on the harsh immigration law Pearce championed. While the results aren’t yet official, with all districts reporting, challenger Jerry Lewis was up 52.4% to 45.4%, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Pearce seemed to expect defeat. “If being recalled is the price for keeping one’s promises, so be it,” he told the Arizona Republic.

Lewis is also a Republican, and the two agreed on most issues, so the election hinged both on immigration and political style. Pearce outspent Lewis 3-to-1, but an attack accusing Lewis of stealing donated items from homeless children drew criticism from fellow Republicans, and an attempt to draw votes from Lewis by helping Mexican immigrant Olivia Cortes get on the ballot backfired badly. Lewis, meanwhile, pledged not to take lobbyist gifts—a response to the $40,000 in gifts Pearce got from the Fiesta Bowl. Click for more on Pearce. (Read more Russell Pearce stories.)

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