Kathy Pearce, sister of SB1070 champion Russell Pearce, is falling short of unseating either of Legislative District 25’s incumbents.
Early results show Pearce trailing Rep. Michelle Udall, R-Mesa, and House Speaker Rusty Bowers by roughly 3 points.
Bowers has netted more than 41 percent of the vote so far, leading Udall by 11 points. Pearce lags behind Udall with just under 28 percent of the votes tallied so far.
Pearce has attracted support from conservative groups like the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, which spent thousands in support of her candidacy and against Udall. But outside of that independent support her fundraising operation was meager compared to Udall, who has served in the Legislature since 2017.
Pearce said previously that she was recruited to run against Udall, and while she was disappointed in some of Bowers’ votes, her objective was not to unseat the speaker. If elected, Pearce would likely join the ranks of vocal conservatives that Bowers spent much of the last session attempting to placate.
Like many of those lawmakers, Pearce is skeptical of the government response to COVID-19 and the closure of businesses.
Russell Pearce, the second of his family to serve in the Legislature, was the primary sponsor of SB1070, a tough enforcement approach to illegal immigration that motivated a successful recall election a year later. It was the first time Arizona voters have removed a legislator from office through the recall process.