Mesa City Councilwoman Dina Higgins today endorsed Jerry Lewis, who is seeking to unseat Senate President Russell Pearce in the Nov. 8 recall.
The development is notable because Higgins’ endorsement means that two Mesa council members have officially declared their support for Lewis, and a third has donated to Lewis’ campaign.
Mesa City Councilman Dave Richins had earlier endorsed Lewis, and Mesa Councilman Dennis Kavanaugh donated $100 to the Pearce foe.
Perhaps the most prominent endorsement by a sitting politician came early in the campaign, when Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley backed Lewis.
But most politicians from the East Valley have either endorsed Pearce or remained neutral in recall election.
And established party figures like Gov. Jan Brewer, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and influential lawmakers like Senate Majority Leader Andy Biggs are squarely behind Pearce.
Pearce also received the backing of the Arizona Republican Party and the Maricopa County Republican Party.
Though she never mentioned him by name, Higgins took a subtle swipe at Pearce in a statement sent by Lewis’ campaign.
“Jerry is not a one-issue candidate. We have taken a hit nationally due to the misguided efforts of a few politicians. I believe that Jerry will help redeem our image,” Higgins said.
Higgins said she’s convinced Lewis will “not make the mistake of balancing the State’s budget with revenues that rightfully belong to cities.”
“He will work with, not against, cities, counties and the federal government,” she added.
Richins told the Arizona Capitol Times he endorsed Lewis because as a city official he can’t “afford another year of Russell Pearce getting in the pocket of the cities and towns of Arizona, and the counties.”
Pearce’s fiercest critics often charge him being a single-issue candidate, a politician who is only focused on fighting illegal immigration.
But Pearce and his allies reject this characterization. Supporters often point to his work on the budget, public safety issues and socially-conservative legislation to prove that this caricature of him is one-sided.
Another accusation against Pearce is he’s supposedly damaged Arizona’s image primarily because of the anti-illegal immigration measures he champions.
But Pearce stands by his record, arguing that other states are following Arizona’s lead.