Undeterred from his humiliating defeat in the recall election last November, former Senate President Russell Pearce is asking the voters of Mesa’s new Legislative District 25 to redeem him politically by returning him to the Arizona Senate.
Pearce faces solid conservative businessman Bob Worsley for the open Senate seat. It may be the last political gasp for Pearce, who would be twice-damaged goods if he loses to Worsley, coming on the heels of a double-digit loss in the recall.
It’s been a rough week or two for Pearce. First, there was the firestorm of criticism targeting Pearce because of incendiary emails written or forwarded by Pearce from his email account while serving in the state Legislature. The emails are shocking in their comparison of Hispanic immigrants to “lepers leaving a leper colony,” and other similar disparaging and insensitive comments. Pearce defends the statements as not being racist, and says that even if they were, it is not fair to attribute to him any approval or sanction since they were not written by him and he was just forwarding them to others. Yeah. Sure.
Cue Pearce Habooboo #2. Then shortly following the tragedy in Aurora, Colo., Pearce posted on his Facebook wall a statement in which he seemed to question the bravery of those who were present in the theater when the shooting began. “(H)ad someone been prepared and armed they could have stopped this ‘bad man’ from most of this tragedy … all that was needed is one Courages/Brave (sic) man prepared mentally or otherwise to stop this.”
Pearce’s comments struck another raw nerve, and an avalanche of critical commentary erupted in the local and national press, and on social media.
The most stinging response was an open letter to Pearce from Arizona media celebrity, Pat McMahon. (You remember Pat, don’t you? He was Gerald, Captain Super, Aunt Maude and Marshall Good on the “Wallace and Ladmo” kids TV show back in the day, as they say.) Pat’s letter began: “Dear Mr. Pearce – Shut up!” No need to quote the entire letter. You get the picture. I think it’s safe to say, “No Ladmo Bag for Russell this week.”
I was discussing all of this with one of my adult daughters who has been following the campaign closely. Her astute observation about Pearce: “He has no filter between his brain and his mouth.” Then she added: “If I were his campaign manager, I’d change his Facebook password and lock him in a closet until after the election.” (Personal note: This was one of those “payback moments” you get very rarely as a parent, when you feel the sacrifices of parenthood were all worthwhile.)
I have a client who was telling me her father lived to be 96 years old. I inquired, “How did he die? Did he have a heart attack or an illness?” She quickly replied, “It was just time.”
So it is with Russell Pearce. It is just time, for the second time, to tell him on Aug. 28 he does not represent the views of the vast majority of the good citizens of Mesa.
— Brent Ellsworth, a Mesa attorney, resides in Mesa’s Legislative District 25.