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Pearce: I will not retreat

Senate President Russell Pearce (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

I’d be lying if I said I was not extremely disappointed by being voted out in a recall election. It has been an honor to serve the people of Arizona in the legislature for the last decade and I am sad to go under these circumstances.

There is still much to be done, even though we lead the nation in many areas, such as economic recovery, safer neighborhoods, job creation, quality education, 2nd Amendment freedom, lower taxes, less regulation, defense of the unborn, protection of property rights, and yes, a return to the principles laid down by our Founding Fathers. We have changed the national debate in a good way. More than 34 states are modeling legislation after Arizona. WOW, who would have ever thought we could have had that kind of an impact? I am deeply grateful for this opportunity to serve and to have made a difference.

The World War II pilots had a saying; “If you’re not taking flak, you’re not over the target,” Well apparently I’ve been over the target for some time.

The left have said terrible things, the media have manufactured their own truth and with NO basis in truth at all and others an extreme spin on the truth. It is sad and hurtful. Like I tease, if I believed half of what the media said, I wouldn’t vote for me. I have never broken my promises, I have been faithful to my Oath of Office, and I have done nothing immoral, illegal or dishonest and will continue to do what I believe is right and good for this Constitutional Republic. If the price for keeping promises is a recall, so be it. The left will continue to attack these moral values and the rule of law. I proudly take the arrows of the left and consider it a badge of honor.

One state senate race would not be national news were it not for the fact that for the last several years, I have led the successful battle against illegal immigration on the state, local and national level, most notably by authoring Arizona’s SB 1070. It has made a difference here and nationally.

Statement by Phoenix Law Enforcement Association: “Since SB1070, Phoenix has experienced a 30-year low crime rate. 600 police vacancies, budget cuts, and old policing strategies didn’t bring about these falling crime rates. SB1070 did. When hard-working rank-and-file Phoenix Police Officers were given access to the tool of SB1070, the deterrence factor this legislation brought about was clearly instrumental in our unprecedented drop in crime. And all of this without a single civil rights, racial profiling, or biased policing complaint. To ignore the positive impact of SB1070 in the City of Phoenix is to ignore the huge elephant in the middle of the room.”

My critics claim that my defeat shows the voters oppose immigration control. Libertarian open border advocate Tamar Jacoby wrote, “Demagoguing immigrants looks like a sure vote-getter. But as Russell Pearce just proved, it’s not.” The pro-amnesty lobbying organization America’s Voice wrote: “The people of Mesa have spoken — and they have sent a message to Arizona and the nation: Anti-immigrant extremism doesn’t work”

I will not retreat from this fight, and the movement that I helped create is going strong.

Pretty much all political observers acknowledge that I would have not lost the race in a normal election. In 2010, at the height of the controversy over SB 1070, with high turn-out, I was elected with nearly two thirds of the vote. What made this race different?

In a recall election, there is no primary. So my opponents put up Jerry Lewis, by design a nominal Republican, against me. In a normal election, he would have had no chance in the primary getting the Republican nod and with a registration edge to GOP voters in my district; I would have won easily against the Democrat in the General Election. They knew that. However, the Democrats did not put up a candidate, they endorsed the Republican. Instead, the Democrat party and left wing groups like the SEIU and all supported Lewis.

Additionally, there was a prolonged smear campaign against me for accepting (with dozens of other legislators) free college football tickets that loomed over the campaign. These attacks are groundless and I did nothing illegal or unethical and I followed legal counsel’s advice. However, the main point is that this had nothing to do with my positions on illegal immigration. In fact my opponent barely discussed the issue.

Combine all these factors with the low turnout in a special election, and it is hard to see my defeat as a referendum on SB 1070.

While I am sad to have to leave office, I can look at the progress Arizona has made on the illegal immigration issue with pride.

In 2004, I authored and put Prop 200, The Protect Arizona Now Act on the ballot. Compared to SB 1070, it was an incredibly modest bill that merely restricted public benefits to illegal aliens and protected against voting fraud. Nonetheless, virtually every politician in the state opposed the measure, and we were outspent 3-1. Still, the voters of Arizona passed it overwhelmingly.

In 2007, I introduced the Legal Arizona Workers Act to require that all employers in the State use E-Verify to ensure they do not hire illegal immigrants. After building enormous grassroots support across the state, the bill passed and then Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano signed it. This past May, the Supreme Court upheld it; states rights to mandate E-Verify for employers.

More than a dozen states passed E-Verify laws, and without having to worry about expensive litigation, we can expect even more to follow suit next year.

In 2010, I introduced SB 1070. John McCain and Jeff Flake both opposed Prop 200 and both have been prime sponsors of amnesty, I knew where the people of Arizona stood and began to champion SB 1070. Now, most of our Republican congressman and both US Senators at least give lip service to supporting SB 1070. More importantly, polls still show that Arizona voters support the law by a 2-1 margin.

This past year, Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia all passed bills modeled after SB 1070.

There is no doubt that movement against illegal immigration on the state level has become bigger than me, and bigger than Arizona.

I have not decided whether or not I will run for the State Senate or another office in the future. However, I am confident that legislators and activists in Arizona and across the country will continue to pass laws to fight illegal immigration. I will do everything I can as a private citizen to assist them.

– Russell Pearce, outgoing Senate President


  1. Ahhh, poor Russell. Maybe we should call you a Waambulance. As much as you’d like to make this about Illegal Immigration it’s solely about your lack of honor & integrity.

  2. I see he’s still spewing the same lies and rhetoric. Some thing never change.

  3. Thank you for your service, Mr Pearce. It is a rare politician who says what he means and does what he says. Thank you!

  4. Russell, you did us much service and we thank you! Here’s hoping you take up the challenge again! Move to another area, run again and let’s move forward.

    Like Sheriff Joe; a lot of people rave and rant against him, yet he’s won every election he’s run for; two men FOR Arizona. Keep up the good work, both of you!

  5. Good luck to you, Russell. Now you can run for Senator Kyl’s seat? You’ve got MY vote!

  6. Rusell Pearce has demonized immigrants for political gain, and now he’s complaining that people are demonizing him. You get back what you put out. He thought he had mastered the art of demogoguery and now it turns out his own constituents were sick of it. He put Arizona on the map alright, as the backwater state of 00’s comparable to a Southern hick racist state in the 50s. He promoted racial and group hatred, now the voters prefer sensible solutions. Jerry Lewis was listening. Why wasn’t he?

  7. Here is the catch. The lies, rhetoric, twisted facts combined with bigotry, stupidity, nativism, from this individual has only ashamed Arizona over the years.

    Quoting him…”Enough is enough”. Mr. Pearce…get over it, take a good anti-acid and shut up. We are tired of you…we voted you out!!! Take it like a man and not like a beat up kindergarten yard bully (by the way, that is what you are). Take it on the chin….and let the decent people of Arizona alone!!!

    “Leading the nation”? Who do you think you are trying to deceive? The reality is that we have lost 350,000 since Brewer took office (BTW, you were in the AZ legislature many years in advance), 2nd in the Country in foreclosures, you pushed to take away millions from dying people (transplants) and gave it to a mean hearted opportunist Sheriff so he could show off.

    Shame on you Pearce…but…again…WE GOT RID OF YOU!!! GO AWAY!!!

    You stated before the election that the people of LDS 18 “loved you”…may I laugh in the face your mediocrity? Your lack of touch?


  8. Everyone forgets that before Pearce ran for the AZ Senate (remember he was a House Representative before that), the formed an exploratory committee to run for the US House of Representatives in 2008.

    Soon after that….he never got any traction. I guess he found out that people in AZ OVERALL OPPOSE HIM. I would like him to even try to run for the US Senate…he would be defeated again!!!! Similar to what his “buddy” JD Hayworth suffered…when he believed his own rhetoric and forgot it was “show biz”

  9. Pearce says that “he will not retreat”. Who cares? We kicked him out…we MADE HIM RETREAT!!! He is history and he knows it!!!

  10. Now that is one sorry loser. He can’t help but keep pumping the propaganda machine. Delusional old man….

  11. Mr Pearce,

    When do you intend to amend your signature to reflect your new title?

    Russell Pearce, Former State Senate President (Recalled)

    The margin of your loss is now above 10%.
    What about landslide do you not understand?
    What about over 55% of Republicans that voted, voted against you do you not understand?

    But, before you officially leave, would you please give your strongest recommendation for your recall campaign committee to a few of your fellow extremist legislators for them to assist with their campaigns next year? And, remind your supporters what a fine job they did of drumming up support for you and for them to give that same support to those candidates next November?

    That would be your best gift to Arizona.

  12. Even in defeat the man can’t be gracious.

    You didn’t take a couple of free football tickets – you took $40,000 in free football ticket. How does giving your kids and family member free ticket promote Arizona?

    You were fired by Gov. Hull for fixing your buddy DUIs…how does that support safe communities.

    You’re right about there not being a primary. And? The majority of voters in your district decide they were done with you. It’s the attitude that voter don’t actually deserve representation unless the agree with you that was your ultimate undoing.

    Your entire career is based on immoral acts. And they finally caught up to you. Stop your pathetic self righteous martyr act…we don’t buy it anymore.

    Immigration, immigration,’re a one trick pony and the voters put you out to pasture.

    And finally, low turnout special election? Approximately the same number of people voted against as voted against you in 2010. The only person that had a low turnout was you…over 8000 people that voted for you in 2010 decide you weren’t worth voting for in 2011.

    Maybe because you lack personal accountability. Stop point fingers at other, and point one at yourself for a change.

    Oh and I dare you to run again… Beat Rich Crandall, go ahead.

  13. Russell:

    “It has been my honor . . . ” yet you are acting dishonorably as such a sore loser.

    All of your so-called accomplishment have done more harm than good.

    You were voted out for a reason. If you were so respectful and responsive to the will of the voters, you would respect ever THIS recent turn of events and graciously go away. Judging by how quickly you have responded, it looks like you need to take some time to reflect, not respond.

    The good news is that The People are now emboldened to take on anyone as odious as you. You awoke a sleeping giant.

    But for now . . . please go away and quit acting so dishonorably.

    It’s time to shut up now, Russell.

    Shut up!

  14. Beth Kinser Hallgren

    As an active and well informed citizen of Arizona, I say, Russell Pearce, real IMMIGRANTS and citizens SALUTE you! You are a “larger than life” true American and Arizona hero!

    For Life and Sacred Honor,
    Beth Hallgren

  15. Russell, the children in Arizona are safe today, because District 18 voters decided their children’s future was important. Our hope is that other legislators will have wisdom and learn from this lesson. We expect legislators to put the interests of Arizona’s future first. Reflect on this “Your legislation was destined to hurt all children”. Now you are gone, because you did not listen.

  16. Really? Is he living in OZ? Good riddance to bad news. You can now join the list of one of the worst politicians ever! The entire AZ State legislature will be turned over.

  17. Look at all the ignorant vomit eaters here, who are celebrating the fact that Mexicans, illegal immigration profiteers, and pro-illegal left wing sewage removed Pearce from office. One can only hope that they, or their family members, are the next fatalities at the hands of the invasion from Mexico. Perhaps when they join the “family” of 50,000 Americans killed by illegal aliens since 09/11/01, they will get the pay off they so richly deserve.

  18. Mr. Pearce,

    I have followed you for years and appreciate you being the catalyst for SB1070 throughout America. Looks like the Mormon Church, LaRaza and the Move On folks are pro illegal immigration. How very sad. Hope you run for Kyl’s seat – you would really make a difference in the Senate. God bless you and good health to you and your family.

  19. Russell PLEASE run for Kyl’s seat.

    Just like the majority of Arizona voters were wise enough to vote for Jan Brewer—-the majority in Arizona will be wise enough to vote for YOU for Kyl’s seat!!

    We have made too much momentum/progress….PLEASE do not give up now!!

    We CAN make it so that every state begins to ENFORCE OUR IMMIGRATION LAWS…….

    And, no more rights/benefits/privileges to illegals!!!

  20. You nation-wreckers and traitors shouldn’t gloat too much about the defeat of this fine statesman. His law is still there, and its concept continues to advance in other states.

    The recall involved a unique set of circumstances that worked against Pearce–circumstances that may not repeat in future contests. Again, don’t gloat too much. He may be down, but he’s not necessarily out.

  21. Yes, it was the unions and Moveon that did you in! Obama and the ALCU too! It had nothing to do with your hateful politics, or prickly personal demeanor.

    Nope, you aren’t responsible for your defeat. It was everyone else’s fault but yours!

  22. The anti-Pearce crowd are gullible. As Mr. Pearce explained, under a normal election cycle he would have won handily and he’s right.

    This wasn’t a primary. This was a special election, a recall. Democrats and Republicans can vote in a recall. There was no way a Democrat candidate would beat Pearce and that’s the point he was making.

    The pro-illegal alien crowds had to line up behind another Republican candidate to defeat him. Makes you look like the losers after all, seeing that you had no confident to run your own illegal alien-loving, Democrat candidate. That’s okay though, Mr. Pearce’s SB1070 did more than what unpopular opposition did. It galvanized an entire movement against illegal aliens.

    And majority if the country definitely see the fear in the eyes that want to destroy America. The Obama’s DOJ/Feds is pleading with the Supreme Court to not hear Arizona case since they already shot down the law. Lol! Fear!

    It’s coming… year. At the end, the last laugh will be ours: the defenders of our country. Yeah, that’s right…….the MAJORITY against illegal immigration! So long, losers.

  23. The ignorance and naivete of so many in AZ never ceases to amaze me. Do they not realize LaRaza, the Mormons, the unions, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and every other greedy, anti-American group that profits from illegal aliens, and that funds anything that will bring down the U.S. produced a carefully orchestrated scheme that has resulted in winning a battle; however, those who are wise enough to realize the sinister forces behind the recall thoroughly understand they will not win the war.

    I would recommend everyone who is boasting read “The Blueprint.” What was pulled off in Colorado is now in progress in AZ and, from the tone of far too many of these posts, people are too stupid to realize they are marching like sheep to the slaughter, allowing those guilty of treason to turn our country into a clone of the lawless, violent, and corrupt third world countries the illegal aliens left behind before invading ours.

    Mention the name Russell Pearce to any state legislator across the country who honors their oath of office, the Constitution, and our laws and without exception they will point to Russell Pearce as their role model.

  24. BillRichardsonMesa

    Mr. Pearce, you say: “I have done nothing immoral, illegal or dishonest.” In response, I have to say that the voters have determined that your statement is false.

    1. You find nothing immoral or dishonest about taking $38,ooo in tickets, trips and hotel rooms? How about when you said that you paid for everything and that you had cancelled checks to prove your statement. Wasn’t THAT dishonest? You simply lied and then lofted the excuse that “dozens of other legislators” took tickets too. What? “They did it too???” That doesn’t work for my kids, and I would guess that it didn’t work for yours.

    2. You find nothing dishonest or immoral in creating a blacklist and precluding Arizona citizens from entering the Senate Building? How about when you denied having anything to do with it? Wasn’t that dishonest. Our own Capitol Police said that you were the one who ordered it. Are you saying that the Police were lying?

    3. You find nothing immoral or dishonest when your own family and Tea Party supporters launched the campaign of Olivia Cortes? You think that the electorate is so facile that they believe that you knew absolutely nothing about this? We heard you say time and time again that you had never met Ms. Cortes, that you had never spoken to her. But the public did not miss the negative pregnant in your comments. You saw the signs for Cortes. You saw the video clips of the trial and the order of the judge. Yet YOU NEVER TOLD YOUR SUPPORTERS TO STOP TRYING TO DEFRAUD YOUR CONSTITUENTS. Was that immoral to sit back and allow all that chicanery to proceed before your eyes and SAY NOTHING? Immorality and dishonesty indeed.

    4. How about two days ago when you preposterously claim that Jerry Lewis is “in favor of gays in the Boy Scouts” during your interview with Greta. This was in addition to a parade of clearly false statements about Mr. Lewis, but the foregoing was intended to be the most inflammatory. What does this most recent episode tell the voting public about your morality and honesty.

    These are but a few. I could dig into my archives and find dozens more times when you flat out lied. You flat out lied without so much as flinching. When we the voting public see such conduct, we can only conclude that you cannot be trusted to tell us the truth. We cannot trust you to take the moral high ground. We cannot trust you to distinguish between what is or should be legal, or illegal. You have wholly lost your way Mr. Pearce and you should simply repent and seek forgiveness for your mendacity, for your enmity, and for the intolerance you have shown for any one who refuses to swallow the swill that you attempt to fill the public trough with. Now go, Mr. Pearce. Go home to your grandkids. Stop with the immorality and untruthfulness.

  25. BillRichardsonMesa

    By the way, Mr. Pearce, Jerry Lewis is still awaiting your phone call. But then, I doubt your ego will permit you to do the right thing there either.

  26. When the drug cartels rule your state, children are not safe, no one can understand what the other is saying and your state is a slum, just remember this is what you wanted. No crying about it, take it like a true liberal and don’t move to another state. Stay where you are and deal with the burdons you have created for yourself.

  27. An election in an off year, election-wise, generated by a well funded group of liberal pro-illegal alien proponents is not an indication of how the people feel about illegal immigration or the invasion of foreigners currently happening. At least not in Arizona. Sen. Pearce was far to conservative for the wildly liberal groups forming the opposition of his heroic efforts to restore some sanity in order to deal with the invasion of our country by foreigners. Sen. Pearce’s problem was that he has been far to conservative and constitutionally minded to be tolerated any longer by those who desire more liberal and progressive business oriented support, in lieu of responsible behavior by an elected official.

    His defeat was disappointing, but it certainly does not point to any public leaning towards support of illegal immigration, or for the general support of greedy business interests who support foreign invaders among us. When local media can claim that 83% want a softer line on illegal immigration when that is not the real cause of Sen. Pearce’s recall, it is truly unfortunate. This election result did not reflect a general public interest for tolerating of, or support for, the on-going invasion by the foreigners that are crossing our southern border with no regard for our citizens, or our own country’s unemployment issues. Far from this misleading conclusion, rather, it actually speaks volumes because of those who organized his recall and defeat. When groups like LaRaza gain the ability to toss out one of our national heros in the conservative movement in our country, it portends a scary time for our country and it’s rightful citizens. Sen. Pearce, sponsored the popular with voters, SB1070, and the support for it obviously remains.

    It remains to be seen whether our new Senator Lewis will listen to the voice of the people – or cave into the foreigners, the deceptive media broadcasts, and the greedy business interests among us, as so many of our elected officials have done. Let us all hope that Sen. Pearce will continue in his, no in our fight for justice, the rule of law, and our country. Goodby for now, Sen. Pearce.

  28. So, all of you who “kicked him out” – please tell us who you have now? Jerry Lewis? Who is he? Why did you for for him? What did he run on? Will he be good for Arizona?

    Russell Pearce did what the people wanted him to do – enforce the law that the feds refuse to do. There is no way that the majority of people of Mesa wanted this milquetoast, Jerry Lewis in place of Russell Pearce. LaRaza, the Mormon church and the rest of the pro-immigration groups are the ones who led the ouster of Mr. Pearce. (That gives me a picture of what Mitt Romney would be like as a Mormon – so he won’t get my vote. His actions while in Massachusetts showed that – a lightweight on stopping illegal immigration.) Russell Pearce was strong on immigration.

    I’ll support Russell Pearce in any future endeavor.

  29. Lester Pearce Hater

    Lester Pearce “North Mesa Justice Court, Justice of the Peace” NEEDS to be the next Pearce to go. He is absolutely horrible. He invents his own laws on the spot and his rulings make absolutely no sense.

  30. Russell, you are the one and only, true, honest, forthright, oath keeper.
    You will never “be gone”.
    You are the one that has saved us in the past and the one who will save us
    for the future.
    You saved many lives because of your stance and laws on immigration
    You let us live our lives without fear of gangs, cartels, and a proliferation
    of drophouses.
    We, who respect the law and citizen safety will always be at your side.

  31. Good riddance Russel.l Now visit Alabama and tell us your brilliant ideas make sense.

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