Some extremists are targeting my favorite Arizona legislator, Senate President Russell Pearce, because he sponsored Arizona’s illegal immigration bill SB 1070. Deep pockets on the left are funding a recall effort against him. A more liberal candidate, Jerry Lewis, has been found to run against Pearce in the recall election. A third candidate, Olivia Cortes, has also turned in enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. The recall effort is not really surprising, considering Pearce has become one of the leading mainstream figures in the country opposing illegal immigration. The left sees him as a real threat because he is also personable and well-liked. Even some of his colleagues on the far left like him, such as Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, who is so liberal she once received the Vladimir I. Lenin award from the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers.
The recall signatures were collected by a shadowy organization calling itself “Citizens for a Better Arizona.” Its website “About Us” page does not include a single real name, only a vague description. The recall organizer is Randy Parraz, a labor organizer who ran the Arizona AFL-CIO a few years ago and who also worked for the national AFL-CIO for eight years. According to the Huffington Post, “In the fall of 2007, Randy returned to Arizona and began work in the housing industry as a political organizer for the Laborers’ International Union of North America.” Parraz has also worked as a community organizer with Dallas Area Interfaith, an affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) founded by none other than Saul Alinsky. Parraz started the Student Institute for Social Change, a left wing organization. He ran as a Democrat against Senator John McCain in 2010 and finished last in the race. He co-founded the innocuous sounding “Maricopa Citizens for Safety and Accountability,” which appears to exist solely to bash Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Parraz was arrested in 2008 for disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing due to his conduct protesting Sheriff Arpaio. Afterwards, he turned around and sued the county for $500,000. He cites the Marxist book “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” as one of his favorite books.
Since Pearce is Mormon and represents a heavily Mormon populated district, the left purposely sought out a Mormon candidate to run against him. Parraz brazenly admitted to the Arizona Republic that he wanted to find a Mormon who was a Republican to challenge Pearce. Parraz admits the recall isn’t motivated by Latinos angry about SB 1070, stating that most of his volunteers are “white people over the age of 50,” and that most of the people who signed the recall petitions were over age 50. This reveals what most conservatives have suspected all along; the opposition is mostly coming from white, aging hippies.
The main candidate being set up to run against Pearce, Jerry Lewis, is careful not to sound too liberal and claims that he is a Republican. But if what he writes on his website is examined closely, it is clear he is no conservative. On the Issues page of his website, he reveals his big government side, “Certainly hard economic times demand that we all tighten our belts and eliminate non-essential spending in an informed manner. However we must not be hostile to local governments in doing so.”
Lewis does not take a conservative position on illegal immigration, and uses the language that many open borders proponents use. He writes on his website, “While the federal government fulfills its responsibility to secure the border, I support a rational and fair solution for dealing with immigrants who have committed no crime other than being here without proper documentation. Reasonable, enforceable and sustainable immigration reform must be guided by principles of maintaining national security, respecting all humanity, preserving families, enforcing the rule of law, and weighing economic impact.” He goes on to say that it is the federal government’s responsibility and that we need to move beyond “polarizing, contentious and fear-based rhetoric.”
The problem with saying it is the federal government’s responsibility is that the federal government has abdicated its duties in this area. States like Arizona which have the highest rates of illegal immigration in the country have been forced to step up and fill in the void with laws like SB 1070.
The left is using classic Saul Alinsky tactics to demonize and smear Pearce. This is no coincidence considering Parraz’s association with Alinsky’s IAF. Those defending Pearce have been viciously attacked online. The left brings up red herrings in order to discredit Pearce, such as diverting attention to whether his campaign signs were improper and threatening lawsuits over it.
Pearce is not the only conservative politician in Arizona being attacked for combating illegal immigration with Alinsky tactics. Sheriff Joe Arpaio is constantly under attacks taking the form of investigations and lawsuits, which are trumpeted in the media nonstop, even though most of them never go anywhere. The Arizona State Bar is trying to disbar former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, known for his aggressive efforts fighting crime-related illegal immigration. The Maricopa County Republican Party Executive Guidance Committee issued a resolution this month denouncing the Bar’s prosecution, calling it a political witchhunt.
The left’s Alinsky strategy to ruin the reputation of conservative politicians against whom they have no real case is to use innuendos. The left-leaning media assists them by making groundless lawsuits front page news and relegating their dismissals to the obituary pages. The left then sues Arizona government claiming abuse from these politicians, demanding millions of dollars from taxpayers, which gets spun in the media as the conservative politicians’ fault for wasting money.
Only 7,756 signatures were required to force a recall election, something that was easily accomplished by the paid signature-gathering company. Pearce’s supporters allege that some of the signatures were fraudulent and filed a lawsuit to stop the recall election. The Arizona Supreme Court will consider the challenge this week on September 13. The election is November 8, although early ballots go out October 15 and voters in a race with candidates this starkly different tend to vote right after receiving their ballots.
Even if Arizona voters are not thrilled with Pearce for whatever reason, they are not going to turn instead to someone considerably more liberal who was helped into office by the radical left. Pearce is not an “extremist” on the right as the left is trying to portray him. For example, Pearce does not advocate for laws requiring the rounding up and deporting of all illegal immigrants, something that might be considered a more radical position on the right.
Despite their deep pockets and Alinsky tactics, it will be tough for the left to defeat Pearce. He easily won election in 2010, and has won elections in his district 16 times. He beat off a challenge recently by Rep. Jeff Flake’s brother-in-law with a 2-to-1 margin. Pearce’s district, located primarily in Mesa, is safely Republican, with 26,000 Republicans, 21,000 Independents and only 18,500 Democrats. No Arizona legislator has ever been successfully recalled. The presence of a third candidate on the ballot will take votes away from Lewis. Pearce has powerful supporters including former Congressman Tom Tancredo and Bay Buchanan, who served as U.S. Treasurer under President Reagan. They have formed a Committee to Oppose the Recall of Russell Pearce. A Mesa school bond vote that was scheduled to be on the November ballot with Pearce was shelved, reportedly over fear the election would bring out more conservatives to vote for Pearce who would not normally show up to vote against the bonds.
Nationwide, 60% of voters support SB 1070. That number is even higher even Arizona, where 70% of voters support SB 1070. One of the principles Pearce always emphasizes is the rule of law. Arizona voters in his district know that selectively not enforcing the law against certain preferred groups of people leads to chaos.