By DeeDee Garcia Blase
The Russell Pearce Special Elections is historic and crucial to what will set the direction of our country beginning Tuesday night, November 8, 2011. Russell Pearce sponsored the very fist anti-immigrant law via SB 1070 that sparked similar state laws across the nation. If Pearce loses tomorrow, this will decrease the anti-immigrant and anti-Latino momentum as the anti-immigrant crowd continues to get seen for their bigotry.
Here is my prediction. Republican Candidate Jerry Lewis will beat Russell Pearce by 7 points.
Right now the City of Mesa, Arizona, is divided. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) recently caught up with the Utah LDS news regarding how the Mormon or LDS church views the immigration issue. In fact, the LDS Church issued a statement for their support of the Utah Compact. The Church regards the declaration of the Utah Compact as a responsible approach to the urgent challenge of immigration reform.
In addition to the Utah LDS news catching up with the Mesa LDS community, we saw Russell Pearce experience a financial scandal via the FIESTA BOWL. He refused to answer the questions the public had of him with regard to the shady under-the-table financial dealings and what possible political perks he received with that.
When Pearce thought he was above the law with regard to the nasty financial scandal, the community started to pay attention and scrutinize him more carefully.
Next came the infamous Olivia Cortes scandal in which Russell Pearce supporters and Tea Party supporters took advantage of a fellow Latina and Mormon. Cortes by her own testimony confessed that she was not politically educated on how to run campaigns. She turned over her campaign and relied upon a Tea Party Chairman, Greg Western, where they were able to get her name on the ballot in an effort to siphon votes from Latinos.
Using Olivia Cortes was extremely frowned upon within the LDS community in Mesa, and the dirty tactics of the Pearce supporters ripped Mormon relationships further. Good members of the LDS Church were beginning to see the Tea Party and Pearce supporters’ divisiveness.
Now fast forward to what occurred this past weekend before the November 8, 2011 — days before Tuesday night election day.
Russell Pearce was invited by the largest Hispanic Republican group in the nation to attend a FIRESIDE ON IMMIGRATION and the ARIZONA COMPACT debate with a fellow member of the LDS Church. Not only did Pearce not show up to the fireside in Mesa, he did not have the courtesy to respond to multiple emails and requests. In fact, a letter was hand delivered to the State Senate Capitol offices and the Security Officer ensured that Senator Pearce’s office would be in receipt of it. Without Russell Pearce attending, the FIRESIDE ON IMMIGRATION discussion continued at the Mesa Public Library on November 5th, 2011, and the video can be seen here. Daryl Williams is a prominent commercial trial lawyer and he gave an attorney-like presentation with regard to why Pearce stands on the wrong side of American history. Folks like Daryl help to repair bad images that Pearce has created within the GOP and the LDS community. In fact, Daryl believes there should be no room for restrictionists and isolationists within the Party that claims to be for free markets and capitalism.
The plot thickens, as Russell Pearce supporters decide to target more Hispanic Democratic/Independent voters in a last ditch attempt to siphon more Latino votes away from Jerry Lewis. A robocall instructing Mesa voters to “protest” the Russell Pearce/Jerry Lewis Senate election has many Latinos claiming “voter deception”. The robocall was blasted on ABC Phoenix News and this brought more attention to dirty election tricks by the Pearce supporters. The LDS Community continued to pay close attention to this because Pearce is one of their own.
There is a clear and consistent common denominator throughout this Russell Pearce political mess:
- Pearce refuses to address the FIESTA BOWL financial contribution(s) scandal.
- Pearce supporters have proven themselves to be the type of people that enjoy stepping on Latinos with their constant disrespect of us. It is no surprise particularly when Pearce is on record for welcoming Operation Wetback, and Hispanics are tired of being taken advantage of.
Perhaps all of this could have been avoided had Pearce not taken us back to a period that predates the Civil Rights era. We told him to avoid ethnic slurs such as “Operation Wetback“, but he doesn’t think the term “Wetback” is demeaning.
We cannot wait until tomorrow’s results.
It’s been long and grueling for many of us who have worked in front of the scenes and behind the scenes. We long for the days when Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill were both able to work across the aisle solving tough issues.
We miss those days. Unity is the American way.
Many of us want to put partisan politics aside and fix issues, but the only way we can do that effectively is by learning how to work with each other across the aisle.
The Arizona Republic gave a good explanation in a story today with regard to how the Russell Pearce Recall and Special Elections climate evolved into what it is today. Take note because tomorrow will record an important day that will be marked down in our history books as we continue to defend that Shining City on a Hill for many of us who believe immigrants have made and will continue to make this nation great.
Then, in January, two groups launched efforts to force Pearce into a midterm recall election. One, Arizonans for Better Government, was allied with Somos Republicans, which represents Latino Republican interests.
Their reasons? Pearce’s “overt disdain for the United States Constitution” and “history of action on immigration issues.”
In time, that group allied itself with Citizens for a Better Arizona.
To force a recall, the organizers needed 7,756 valid petition signatures from registered voters in District 18. Few pundits gave them a chance; no Arizona lawmaker, and no Senate president anywhere in the country, had ever been recalled.
But throughout the winter and spring, Pearce’s political problems mounted.
- The Senate rejected five new immigration bills that he was pushing.
- An internal investigation revealed that Pearce received $39,347 worth of trips and game tickets from the Fiesta Bowl, which was enmeshed in a scandal over political contributions and financial misconduct. As of July, Pearce had repaid $1,417, but he said the trips were necessary to help promote Arizona’s football industry. <snip>On Tuesday, it ends.
After all the court action, after all the bickering over campaign signs and all the accusations and insinuations, the voters in Mesa’s District 18 will have their quiet say at the ballot box.