Monday, November 14, 2011

Backlash: Author of racist AZ SB1070 kicked out in recall election

Pearce Recall

From The Huffington Post

State Sen. Russell Pearce, the controversial architect of Arizona's immigration law, was voted out of office last Tuesday evening in a special recall election. He was defeated by Jerry Lewis, a fellow Republican who does not support the immigration crackdown and has vowed to reject gifts from special interest groups and work to ban gifts for legislators.

Lewis won with roughly 54 percent of the vote, state officials announced on Tuesday evening. Pearce is the top Republican in the state senate, and a 10-year state legislator. He pioneered S.B. 1070, an immigration law passed in Arizona in 2010 that quickly prompted a lawsuit from the federal government. The law, which would have allowed police to ask for immigration papers at stops if they had "reasonable suspicion" someone was undocumented, was predominantly blocked before it went into effect.

His critics rallied behind Lewis as the most viable alternative to Pearce, forming an unexpected coalition between Republican critics of Pearce and immigration reform supporters. Petra Falcon of Promise Arizona in Action, an immigrant organizing group, said Pearce's loss reflected the public's distaste for Pearce's "extremist positions."

"The political jerseys came off," Falcon said in a statement. "We are willing to work across party lines. We appreciate candidates of all parties who care about the future of our great state: those who respect and bring together diverse communities, focus on education, job creation and building a better Arizona. We look forward to a productive dialogue with Senator Lewis."

Promise Arizona organized about 300 volunteers for a door-knocking campaign, visiting 7,000 residents in the area since September, according to the organization. Promise Arizona contacted about 2,000 Latino voters on Tuesday to encourage them to vote.

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