Senate President Russell Pearce is touting his work to reduce corporate taxes and balance the state budget in his campaign’s first mailer aimed at keeping his legislative seat in the recall election targeting him.
The mailer drives home a single message that Pearce, who is the first sitting legislator in state history to face a recall, has helped create an environment that is conducive for job growth.
Pearce, who is Arizona’s most visible anti-illegal immigration hawk, makes no mention of the subject in the mailer. As the author of the SB1070 and other anti-illegal immigration measures, Pearce appears to have adopted a strategy of keeping silent on the issue.
Meanwhile, today is the first day that campaign signs may be erected alongside roadways in Pearce’s west Mesa District 18.
It’s also the last day for anyone who wants to qualify for the Nov. 8 ballot to submit 621 valid signatures to the Secretary of State. Candidates have until 5 p.m. today to drop off their nominating papers with the Secretary of State’s Office.
Pearce, as the incumbent, is automatically in the race.
Charter school executive and Mesa Republican Jerry Lewis already filed his nominating petition a few weeks ago.
Additionally, the mailer doesn’t whack Lewis, who is seen by political insiders as a potentially tough challenge to Pearce.
The tone of the mailer isn’t surprising.
Political observers earlier said Pearce’s message makeover — the emphasis on his fiscal conservatism as opposed to his fight against illegal immigration — is a savvy and smart strategy.
It would allow him to counter charges that he is a single-issue candidate and to help persuade voters that he is more multi-dimensional than is often caricatured, they said.
Additionally, they said he doesn’t need to repeat his positions on illegal immigration since those are fairly well known by the public. But many voters might also have other concerns, such as jobs and the economy, and he needs to reach out to them as well, they said.
Others, however, said his virtual silence on his immigration record reveals his vulnerability. It shows that his approach to confronting the complex issue is a liability, particularly after the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which he is a member, said local immigration measures that contain only enforcement provisions are likely to fall short of higher moral standards.
The first Mormon temple in Arizona was built in Mesa, where there is a sizable LDS population.
Pearce’s mailer prominently displayed the endorsement he got from the National Federation of Independent Business, which called him one of the most pro-small business legislators in the state.
It also talked about his advocacy for the “jobs bills,” which provides for phased-in tax cuts to corporations, such as reductions in business property and income taxes.
It also mentioned his sponsorship last year of a bill aimed at curbing union activities.
Pearce spokesman Ed Phillips did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.