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Since the historic recall election that booted him out of office, ex-state Senator Russell Pearce has been reduced to spewing racism on AM talk radio, lining up a job for himself within the GOP, and preparing for a new run for the state Senate.

Based on this last part, I do not find it coincidental at all that surviving Republicans in the state Senate are working hard, to make it harder for any future recalls to be successful.

At the end of January, Pearce kicked out the incumbent and took the state GOP's First Vice Chair position, because we wouldn't expect someone like him to feel the least bit chastened about being the first legislator from Arizona to ever lose a recall election. Or to get a real job, or maybe just retire.

Likewise for his radio show out of Phoenix, where he regrets nothing but complains mightily about the recall.

"It was an [open] primary," Pearce explained. "It was an election where the Democrats refused to enter their own candidate, endorsed the Republican that was running, and as a result you got mass voter--the open border Libertarians and the Democrats [sic], all they needed [was] a few Republicans to join that crowd to prevail."
This was the same recall election that he challenged in court, where he solicited funding from anywhere and everywhere, massively outspent his rival, and where his friends and family set up a sham candidate in a shameful attempt to siphon away some votes. As Stephen Lemons points out, the Democratic party didn't endorse anyone, and no one expects any liberal love from Pearce's replacement, Jerry Lewis. He's also a Republican; just less of an extremist, one might hope. I haven't heard anything about his work in the legislature so far. These days, that's sort of a compliment.

So while Russell Pearce grouses about being recalled, and makes noises about running again, I can see why his old pals in the state Senate are getting to work making it harder for anyone to recall them.

The state Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday passed Senate Bill 1449, which would require recall elections to consist of a party-specific primary and then, if necessary, a runoff in which all voters could participate, similar to regular partisan elections.

Currently, recall elections require only a single election in which all candidates and all voters can participate.

The best defense Republicans can muster for this craven piece of CYA legislation is that it's not just to help Republicans, but would help any party facing a recall. This is what the bill's sponsor, Sen. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, had to say about it.
"It's just to revert back to the primary system as it would in any other election we have in the state," he said.
As if a recall election should be just like any other election. As if staging a recall election isn't difficult enough -- Pearce's represents the very first success, after all. They'd like to take this non-partisan recall process and water it down with partisanship.

Republican political domination in this state makes them more likely to suffer from recalls, anyway. And I've observed Republicans rallying around their corrupt officeholders before. But I don't know what makes them so afraid. It took someone as corrupt, as racist, as extreme as Russell Pearce to actually make a recall work. How many more like him could there possibly be in the state legislature?

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