Today, Citizens for a Better Arizona, co-founded by Randy Parraz, will file the signatures they received in their Recall Russell Pearce campaign.
Only 7,700 signatures were needed for a recall.
Russell Pearce received 17,552 to win LD 18 in 2010, the lowest of all the legislative districts.
Randy Parraz set a symbolic goal of collecting 17,553 signatures in this recall effort, much more than the 7,700 needed and one more than the total number of people that even voted for Russell Pearce in November of last year.
In total the recall effort collected 18,300 signatures!
Click here to see a video interview with Randy Parraz by KPHO in Phoenix this morning on this historic achievement.
Help is still needed with the recall campaign.
Over the next 90 days the Secretary of State will verify the signatures, and given the tricks that this state government has already played to protect Russell Pearce, lawyers will be needed to supervise the entire process to make sure signatures do not accidentally get “lost.”
Randy Parraz speaks about the Recall Russell Pearce campaign this morning on KPHO in Phoenix.
Then an election will take place that can be as soon as this November or possibly in March of 2012. This is part of that trickery I was talking about above where someone mistakenly told the recall campaign the wrong number, missing the deadline for a November election by about 10 days.
In my own opinion, I think a March 2012 recall election is more disastrous for Russell Pearce, and this is why.
First of all, rather than celebrating the 100th birthday of Arizona on February 14th next year as the Supreme Leader of Arizona since he is the Senate President with a veto-proof majority, Russell Pearce will be busy running for re-election.
This also takes place during the legislative session, so he may be too busy running for re-election, and possibly sponsoring less anti-immigrant bills, as he tries to appeal to the voters and prove that he is not “too extreme” for Arizona.
But more importantly, he may be voted out as Senate President. The Republicans may decide he is too busy and too distracted and replace him. Either way he is in a tough spot. If Pearce fights to retain power and introduces another slew of anti-immigrant bills, that focus will take away from his re-election campaign, and if he focuses on the campaign, he will not be as dangerous as the Senate President.
One thing is for sure, and that is that Russell Pearce will now go down in history books as the first Senate President in the nation to be recalled, the first legislator in Arizona to be recalled, and the only elected state official to be recalled so far since Evan Mecham, who also angered the minority community with his inflammatory stances (see video below).
[tnivideo caption="From Evan Mecham to Russell Pearce" credit=""]http://vimeo.com/13709332
Below is an excerpt I wrote after the November 2010 election where I analyzed how Russell Pearce got into office, and why the Democratic Party did almost nothing to stop him. Even this year, there were many who said that you can never recall Russell Pearce, but there is a new power emerging in the Arizona Democratic Party, what I call the “Si Se Puede” crowd. When someone says no you can’t, that Russell Pearce is invincible, we say he will be recalled, and Si Se Puede!
via earlier article analyzing how Pearce got into office
Now we get to the main point of this lesson, Russell Pearce.
Above we have seen that Republicans have absolutely no problem taking on powerful incumbents, and even running no-names against them.
Why didn’t the Arizona Democratic Party take out Russell Pearce this year?
We will ignore for now that the state chair of the Democratic Party, Don Bivens, works for the law firm that is defending Russell Pearce (and Jan Brewer) on SB1070, although it may be relevant later.
What I want to focus on for now is mathematics. And it is my hope that the facts and numbers disgust you as they did to me.
Actually, I will make graphs for you and let them tell most of the story.
First point: Power
Russell Pearce is the new Senate President. He has a two-thirds majority to override any veto from the governor.
Russell Pearce is more powerful than Jan Brewer. He can introduce legislation, and override the executive branch if they veto his bills.
Russell Pearce is the real governor of Arizona, in the sense of who has the real power to govern.
Even though Jan Brewer got over 50 times as many votes than Russell Pearce did, Russell Pearce is more powerful.
Now look at how Russell Pearce became more powerful than Jan Brewer by how many votes they got.
Second point: Top power from small districts
It is not just a coincidence that the top Senators are from rural and small areas. Consider South Dakota, with only one Congressional seat, home to Tom Daschle.
Consider Nevada, which is one of the most sparsely populated states in the nation with only two real population centers, and each one is on the extreme of the state. With only 3 Congress seats, Nevada is now home to the Majority leader.
Bill Frist is from Tennessee, wannabe Majority Leader McConnell is from Kentucky, and Trent Lott was from Mississippi. Going back a few more years you have Bob Dole from Kansas, George Mitchell from Maine, Robert Byrd from the large state of West Virginia, and then a Majority leader with a whopping 16-year reign, from 1961-1977, Mike Mansfield from another one-Congress-seat state, Montana.
The top vote-getter in contested state senate races. District 18 is Russell Pearce's district in Mesa.
You can run the country just by getting the number of votes you need in a small state. Contrast this to Barbara Boxer, who in 2004 was the third highest vote getter in the nation, third only to Bush and Kerry, getting nearly 7,000,000 votes in California. It takes a lot of work to win in a huge state like California and New York, but Senate power is derived from seniority, not number of votes you got in your home state.
The take-home message here is that Russell Pearce got the least votes of all the winners in contested senate races. The range here is extreme also.
We are talking about a 4-fold range difference from District 4 (68,000) to District 18 (17,000).
So much for districts being about equally distributed…
Third point: The 1% WTF
There were over 1.75 million voters in Arizona.
With only 1% of the total Arizona vote, Russell Pearce has become the most powerful man in the state.
Russell Pearce has become the most powerful man in the state with only 17,500 votes, almost exactly 1% of the total number of voters.
99% of all Arizonans did NOT vote for Russell Pearce, and yet he is the most powerful man in the land!
Final point: SHAME ON THE ARIZONA DEMOCRATIC PARTY!
What gives AZ Dems?
Russell Pearce had an opponent named Andrew Sherwood in LD18. How symbolic this number is, since with only 18,000 votes you could have knocked out Russell Pearce.
Maybe the state party didn’t devote money to LD18 because of a conflict of interest? Don Bivens’ workplace is profiting off of Russell Pearce, so Pearce can’t be taken out?
That is just speculation on my part, but why didn’t the Dems have the balls the Republicans do and go after the top leaders, especially from small districts?
Above we saw that LD18 actually had the least votes needed to win a legislative district, and by a factor of 4!
Three Sonorans wrote about Andrew Sherwood (link above) and posted the only two “commercials” that existed for him. One was made by my good friend Dennis Gilman, who does not make commercials, nor does he direct even though he captures awesome LIVE video from protests and rallies.
But Dennis Gilman knows what is up, and knew that taking out Russell Pearce was a possibility, but the AZ Dems weren’t helping out!
This is why a progressive revolution is needed. No one wants to take out Russell Pearce more than progressives and Latinos, and perhaps he wasn’t the top target for the state until now. Now he is the Senate President, a position of real power, but why was he ignored until now?
I just want to leave you with the following thought. The most powerful man in Arizona got into power with only 17,000 votes, a mere 1% of the total votes cast in Arizona.
By doing next to nothing, the Arizona Democrats are also to blame for not using tactics from the Republican strategy book. I would argue that a million dollars is well worth the investment to get rid of Russell Pearce.
But for some reason the Arizona Democrats were silent or weak.
Do the Arizona Democrats even really want to have power in this state? It is time to stop joking around and start getting real candidates and to think strategically about how to take out the top Republicans!
Consider this lesson the first part of my Christmas present to the Arizona Democrats with a simple look at the numbers behind the power.