Arizona Immigration Law Author Loses Key Recall Election
Senate President Russell Pearce, author of Arizona’s hard-line illegal immigration law and tea party hero, became the first sitting lawmaker in state history Tuesday to lose a recall election, The Associated Press Reports.
Moderate Republican challenger and immigration law opponent Jerry Lewis defeated Pearce with a 53 percent to 46 percent win, with all precincts reporting according to the Maricopa County Elections office. Lewis apparently won by a margin of about 1,800 votes. Lewis, an assistant superintendent of an Arizona charter school, will be sworn in after the Secretary of State certifies the election later this month and will serve the remainder of Pearce’s term through 2012.
“It doesn’t look like the numbers are going in my direction on this, and I’m OK with that,” Pearce said during a televised speech in Mesa.
Though the immigration issue was at the heart of the recall movement, Lewis said it was just one of many factors in the race.
“Certainly the immigration issue is important to many people including myself,” Lewis said. “We need to bring a civil tone to that discussion, a professional approach to solving it, an approach that is reasonable and won’t be . . . in the courts for years to come.”
The State Legislature passed Pearce’s bill known as SB 1070 in 2010, which requires – among other things – immigrants to carry paperwork and police to check the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally. Key provisions of the law were put on hold by a federal judge, but Gov. Jan Brewer (R) is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to let it take effect.