Extremist Sen. Russell Pearce Kicked Out of Office in Historic Arizona Recall Election

Voter rejection of SB-1070 architect is seen as referendum on unpopular racial-profiling bill

Last night, Tea Party Senator Russell Pearce of Arizona lost his seat in a recall election to Republican Jerry Lewis (53-45). 

Pearce is the driving force behind SB-1070, the controversial anti-immigrant bill requiring police to demand papers from anyone they suspect may be undocumented. He had been widely seen as a figurehead of anti-immigrant politics nationally, and had made his stance on immigration the hallmark of his political career.

SB-1070, the harshest bill in the country until Alabama’s HB 56 was recently approved, set off a firestorm of wide-ranging criticism, marked by national marches, lawsuits, and a national boycott of Arizona.

Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera, commented:

“Russell Pearce’s recall is a welcome victory for all who have been fighting this bill since its inception, and for the immigrant families of Arizona who have been forced to live in fear because of him.

It’s also a strong message to Governor Scott Walker, who has promised to sign a similar bill here in Wisconsin if it came to his desk. Simply put, the political scapegoating of immigrants will not be tolerated.

Especially in a moment of true economic crisis when our elected officials should be investing in good job creation, the kind of hateful rhetoric that Pearce and his supporters put out, and that Governor Walker has condoned, will be wholeheartedly rejected both in the streets and at the ballot box.”