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Pearce challenger Jerry Lewis to make it official

Jerry Lewis (left), Senate President Russell Pearce (File photos)

In a move that could have significant reverberations for the political establishment in the East Valley, a Mesa Republican is expected to announce Tuesday that he will challenge one of Arizona’s most influential politicians.

Jerry Lewis, an accountant and charter school executive, is planning a round of media interviews to presumably explain why he wants to take on Senate President Russell Pearce, the first sitting legislator to face a recall.

Pearce allies have warned Republicans about the political risks of running against the Senate’s most influential legislator in a recall election that was sought, they claim, not because he did something illegal but because he kept or tried to keep his campaign promises.

Constantin Querard, a political consultant who will run an independent expenditure group to help Pearce keep his seat, said a successful challenger would also be considered a “pariah” by fellow Republicans and would be an ineffective legislator.

That he’s even considering a run means Lewis, a 30-year resident of west Mesa, is undaunted.

His camp maintains he is disconnected with the recall effort.

One of Lewis’ early supporters, Dea Montague, an attorney and former mission president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said he doesn’t believe Pearce represents the majority of voters in his district.

Besides offering a leadership style that strives for consensus, Lewis will “help give Arizona and Mesa and District 18 a better brand,” Montague said last week.

Unspoken but implicit in those words is the argument that Pearce’s supposed extreme positions are giving Arizona a black eye, and that’s not attracting, for one, businesses.

The recall election is set for Nov. 8.

Meanwhile, a legal challenge to the recall petition has been filed in court, and oral arguments are set for Aug. 8.


  1. As if Pearce is “effective” on behalf of the majority of Arizonans?

  2. The last time I checked, this was democracy and we don’t act like a third world dictatorship with threats against someone because they want to take on an incumbent.
    We teach our kids to stand up to bullies in schools.
    We pass laws against school bullying.
    Shouldn’t we as adults and people of faith have the same stance on running for public office?
    And we wonder why youngsters imitate our behavior and then lecture them against it.

  3. I can’t wait to hear Jerry Lewis speak. And as a fed-up Arizonan, sick and tired of the ideological bent of Sen. President Pearce and his followers, I cannot wait to donate to Mr. Lewis’ campaign.

  4. I have my checkbook ready to support Lewis, just waiting for his website to go live!

  5. It’s a shame a moderate Democrat has not come forward. Jerry Lewis is very similar to Pearce… just a little more polished. Those who have worked under him and felt his wrath and lies have often wondered if he is bipolar, and the termed most used to describe him is “snake.” For the last two years Jerry has been principal of a charter school in Tempe, even though he has not had any training or experience as one. Prior to him becoming principal the school earned a “Performing” label and met AYP. Under Jerry the school has gotten the “Underperforming” label and had failed to meet AYP.

    Jerry Lewis is simply an opportunist.

    For the record… I do not support Pearce.

  6. “Constantin Querard, a political consultant who will run an independent expenditure group to help Pearce keep his seat.”

    What a joke….anyone who knows anything about Arizona politics knows that CQ will be working hand in glove with the Pearce campaign.

    No one runs dirtier campaigns than Constantin Querard!

  7. Jerry Lewis is a class act. He is inteligent and honest. He wants the State to focus on jobs, the economy and education. Unlike his opponent, he has spent his entire career in the private sector and knows how to balance a budget and work well with others. Moreover, unlike his opponent, he was never fired by the DMV for corruption. LD 18 can play a big role in turning our State’s reputation and economy around. For me and my house, we are supporting Jerry.

  8. I very much hope Senator Pearce stays in office! He has done nothing wrong to deserve this recall movement and the parties involved in this should be ashamed of themselves and that includes Jerry Lewis & Dean Montague (and I do not care if Dean Montague was Mission President, that means absolutely nothing, other than the fact that he has shamed himself and his calling! I do believe the two of them strictly care about themselves and do not care who they try to take down. Shame, shame, shame!!

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