Gov. Jan Brewer made it official today and ordered a special election for the recall of Senate President Russell Pearce to take place Nov. 8.
Pearce officially becomes the first sitting Arizona legislator to face a recall after the group that spearheaded the drive submitted more than enough signatures to Secretary of State for the special election to take place. Last week, Secretary of State Ken Bennett certified the recall and passed it on to Brewer, who is tasked by state law with formally calling the election.
And as if to say bring it on, Pearce said he supports holding the special election in November.
“In the weeks and months ahead, I will campaign actively to promote and defend my long record of promoting economic recovery, job creation, balanced budgets, law enforcement and secure borders,” he said in a written statement issued by a committee that opposed the recall drive.
“I have never lost an election and will fight these outside forces that support lax law enforcement, amnesty and open borders,” he added.
Pearce also indicated he’s mulling a legal challenge to the process that certified the signatures submitted for the recall as valid.
Brewer’s election call comes a day after Citizens for a Better Arizona, the group that successfully pushed for the recall, publicly called on the Senate President to resign his post now.
Under state statutes, Pearce may resign his post within five days of the recall petition’s certification.
“Consistent with his beliefs, he has been thinking that this is a waste of taxpayer money. Well if that’s the case, then he can resign and not have an election,” said Randy Parraz, one of the group’s organizers.
Yesterday, the group delivered a letter urging Pearce to resign.
Today, Pearce said in his written statement that he has no plans to resign.
Brewer’s election order means both sides of the recall effort have four months to gear up, organize and seek to persuade voters in Legislative District 18 to either keep Pearce or send someone else to the Senate.
In any case, Pearce’s critics face the daunting task of finding and persuading a credible candidate to go against the Senate’s most powerful politician in one of Arizona’s most conservative enclaves.
In order for that candidate to have any chance of toppling Pearce, he or she will likely have to be a Republican with solid conservative credentials.