Pearce recall group plans future political activism

Evan Wyloge//November 20, 2011

Pearce recall group plans future political activism

Evan Wyloge//November 20, 2011

Attorney Tom Ryan, flanked on the left by Pearce recall organizer Randy Parraz, speaks to a group of people assembled for a recall election night party Nov. 8 in Mesa. Ryan is credited by Chad Snow, Republican chairman of recall-organizing group Citizens for a Better Arizona, with being the deciding factor in swaying voters against Pearce. (Photo by Christian Palmer/Arizona Capitol Times)

While the state is still reeling from the historic recall of outgoing Senate President Russell Pearce, the group that launched the recall campaign is already looking toward its next big fight.

Randy Parraz and Chad Snow, the leaders of the nonprofit group that spearheaded the recall campaign, Citizens for a Better Arizona, say they’re sharpening their plans for the future, and that politicians with a penchant for extremism and intolerance should consider themselves warned.

Snow pointed out that the group mobilized about 1,000 volunteers and received donations from about 1,200 individuals during the Pearce recall campaign. That sort of network, Snow said, will be a valuable asset for the group moving forward.

“Whatever we get involved in, whether it’s two or three issues or races, we’ll use our cachet to encourage more moderate outcomes,” said Snow, a Republican.

Parraz, a Democrat, said his group will make a “major announcement” about their future plans Nov. 21 on the Capitol lawn.

Parraz and Snow said they’re aware of speculation that the group will next take on Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has long been associated with the sort of strict immigration enforcement Pearce had been known to advocate, but they both said it’s too early to say exactly what the group’s next move will be.

“Our whole goal is to bring a new tone of civility to politics in Arizona,” Parraz said. “(Sheriff Arpaio) was one of Russell Pearce’s strongest backers, and if he wants to continue with the same extremist brand of politics, he’s going to have to deal with us next.”

Parraz said a recall election probably isn’t the most efficient way to challenge Arpaio at this point, given the lengthy process involved and the fact that Arpaio is up for re-election in less than a year.

“The way we see it, there’s already an Arpaio recall set for next year,” Parraz said. “It’s called ‘the election.’”

Arpaio, however, remains dismissive of Parraz and his bold talk.

“Parraz? He’s been taking me on three and a half years,” Arpaio said. “I respect that they can do what they want… but right now I’ve got to worry about who I’m endorsing for president of the United States.”

Snow said that although Arpaio is one possible target for the group, so are the lawmakers at the Capitol who have vocally allied themselves with Pearceand his brand of politics.

“(Sens.) Andy Biggs and Frank Antenori — the way they’ve been talking, it’s almost like they’re begging to — it looks like they didn’t get the message (from the Nov. 8 recall election),” Snow said.