Guest Opinion: Winner of Arizona Senate Recall: Immigration Law Not the Issue

Very interesting perspective on the election of Jerry Lewis in the recent recall election. The article, appearing in Human Events, was written by Political Editor, John Gizzi, who explains that liberals are all wrong about the conclusion of Lewis’ win.

There are plenty of new revelations in the article that I certainly missed during the campaign leading up to the election. In fact, Mr. Lewis’ comments in this article completely validate my earlier points that the recall was overwhelmingly about style over substance. Given Lewis’ comments in this article, I have to wonder if Randy Parraz and fellow recallers now regret their decision to help Jerry Lewis get elected?

Here is that article:

Since the nationally watched recall election last month that resulted in the ouster of the architect of Arizona’s controversial illegal immigration law, the liberal media has been claiming a major victory. Because former State Senate President Russell Pearce was a conservative Republican, goes the crowing from the Left, his defeat was a blow to the Right and to SB 1070, the Pearce-crafted measure signed into law by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer last year that permits police to ask for immigration papers if they have “reasonable suspicion” someone is in the U.S. illegally.

But that analysis and conclusion over what happened in Pearce’s Mesa district Nov. 8 is pure moonshine.

Veteran state legislator Pearce was ousted by a fellow conservative stalwart named Jerry Lewis. When we got done repeating all the quips about his being mistaken for the world-famous comedian, and how he met up with the former Arizona state treasurer named Dean Martin (“Arizona’s own Martin and Lewis team”), the 55-year-old Lewis told HUMAN EVENTS last week about his own conservative philosophy, and what led him to finally run in the race after initially saying, “No way.”

“When [Pearce] was exploring a bid for Congress for the seat of Jeff Flake [who is running for the U.S. Senate], a number of people urged me to run for his state senate district,” said Lewis, a nine-year stake president in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and superintendent of the Sequoia Choice Arizona Distance Learning charter school. “I said, ‘No, thank you,’ that I wasn’t a politician and wasn’t interested in running.”

Earlier this year, Pearce opted against a congressional race. But a movement known as Citizens for a Better Arizona secured thousands of signatures from voters, surpassing 25% of those who voted in the last election, as Arizona law requires for a recall, and thus placed question of his continued tenure in the senate on the November ballot.

Regarding the recall movement, Lewis told us: “I never supported it and would not sign the petition. I felt that whatever people thought of the incumbent, he had not violated any laws, and you knew where he stood.”

Lewis decided to run, he told us, “Because I saw too much time and money spent by politicians attacking one another, and too little attacking issues voters cared about.” He added that his much-voiced distaste for career politicians finally convinced him “to step up to the plate and do something about them.” Pearce, a former deputy sheriff, has served in the state house and senate, and was once state motor vehicles commissioner.

In campaigning for Pearce’s seat, Lewis emphasized the themes of the economy and employment, calling for lower taxes—the legislature’s vote to reduce taxes on corporations was “a step in the right direction,” he said—and eliminating regulations that keep businesses from creating jobs in the state. In addition, the longtime charter school leader called for greater choice for parents in education.

Did he oppose the immigration law that is Pearce’s signature cause? Lewis replied without hesitation: “No, not at all. [SB 1070] certainly raised the specter of awareness on this issue among voters, and it was a proper response to the problem, considering that no one else—no one at the federal or state level—is doing anything about the problem.”

But, he added, “I still believe it wasn’t a balanced approach. Before taking a step like this, I would have said, ‘Secure the borders first.’ And then our congressional delegation has to force the issue and engage the federal government in stopping illegal immigration.”

Lewis said that as much as voters agreed with 1070, many also felt that Pearce was focusing too much on illegal immigration and not enough on jobs and the economy. Last month, Lewis unseated Pearce with 54% of the vote. When he was sworn in days ago, Lewis formally declined to participate in the pension program for state legislators, saying that voters should not be burdened with paying for his retirement.

The inevitable final question from us was whether, with such a recognizable and well-liked name, would Jerry Lewis consider a bid for higher office?

“No way,” he shot back. “I’m not a career politician, remember?”

Guest Opinion: Ellsworth to Pearce: ‘Move On’

By Brent Ellsworth

In an article ominously, but I’m sure inaccurately, titled, “Senator Russell Pearce: Final Remarks,” posted November 10 on a local political blog, Senator Pearce provided his explanation of why he was soundly defeated two days earlier by his Republican challenger, Jerry Lewis.

Among other things, the Senator confidently stated: “Pretty much all political observers acknowledge that I would have not lost the race in a normal election. . . In a recall election, there is no primary. . . In a normal election, he [Lewis] would have had no chance [against me] in the primary . . .”

Senator Pearce is still trying to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the recent special election because he is annoyed that every registered voter was eligible to vote. In a closed Republican primary, where all prior Pearce victories have been determined, only Republican voters are allowed to vote.

This is a classic example of “Denial,” the first of several predictable steps grief counselors tell us are common in the grieving process after a severe personal loss.

There are a couple of ways you can tell Russell Pearce is stuck in the Denial phase.

Pearce’s claim regarding a hypothetical primary election is contrary to the hard data. A recent independent poll and the double-digit margin of victory by Jerry Lewis raise doubts that a victory by Senator Pearce in a primary election would be a slam dunk. An ABC15 / Arizona Capitol Times poll taken just prior to the election showed that among Republican voters in LD 18, Jerry Lewis had a slight advantage over Senator Pearce. Combine that with the embarrassingly small amount of money raised by Pearce from within his own district, and it doesn’t take a Carville or a Rove to conclude that Senator Pearce may overestimate his current level of support among Republican voters in LD 18.

The conduct of Senator Pearce since the election has been disappointingly unpatriotic and boorish. Our society rightfully expects a minimum standard of decorum and respect for the political process from those who lose elections. Granted, this is unfamiliar territory for Pearce, who is not experienced in the awkward etiquette of political defeat, including the obligatory phone call to congratulate the victor and the graceful but painful concession speech.

We all watched Senator Pearce give his defiant “non-concession” concession speech on election night after the outcome was certain. The press was so confused by the speech they had to ask Pearce’s media spokesman, former TV meteorologist, Ed Phillips, if Pearce’s remarks were, in fact, a concession. Having placed his wet finger to the wind, the dutiful Phillips covered for his boss, and explained that no matter how the speech sounded, it was intended to be a concession speech, and they should take it as such. In other words, “This is as much of a concession as you’re going to get from the Senator, who is not real happy right now.”

Compare the concession speech of Senator Pearce with that of Al Gore in 2000, who arguably had much more reason to be bitter in defeat than does Senator Pearce.

Here are a few quotes from Mr. Gore, whose comments transcend political party and ideology: “Just moments ago, I spoke with George W. Bush and congratulated him on becoming the 43rd president of the United States. . . Tonight, for the sake of our unity of the people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession. . . History gives us many examples of contests as hotly debated, as fiercely fought . . . Each time, both the victor and the vanquished have accepted the result peacefully and in the spirit of reconciliation. So let it be with us. I know that many of my supporters are disappointed. I am too. But our disappointment must be overcome by our love of country. . . While we yet hold and do not yield our opposing beliefs, there is a higher duty than the one we owe to political party. This is America and we put country before party. We will stand together behind our new president.”

Somewhere along his political path, Senator Pearce lost his vision of the “higher duty” described by Mr. Gore. Pearce wasted a golden opportunity on November 8th to recapture that vision and behave like a true statesman by gracefully congratulating Senator Lewis, accepting the clear voice of the voters of his district, and calling on his “Patriots for Pearce” to join him in moving forward in a spirit of reconciliation and healing, rather than one of continuing rancor and division.

Once Senator Pearce gets through this first step of Denial, perhaps he will allow others to help him navigate the remaining four stages of grief, which are: Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and, finally, Acceptance.

Brent Ellsworth, a Mesa attorney, resides in Legislative District 18.

KAET’s Horizon Interview with Senator-Elect Jerry Lewis

More Election Analysis from Stan Barnes & Jay Thorne on KAET’s Horizon

Missed this from last Thursday but that’s why we have YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Es1JzCJ2Zow

The bottom line on the Pearce recall was that the election was a very high profile abnormal gaming of the electoral process.

Sen. Sylvia Allen: Democrats’ Method of Governing: Boycott Meetings and Start Recalls

Senator Sylvia Allen

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 9, 2011
CONTACT: Mike Philipsen

(STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX) – As Republicans prepare for another legislative session focused on getting Arizona back to work and improving our economy, Democrats have embraced a curious strategy of boycotting meetings and threatening recalls against Republicans who don’t vote with them.

“Recalls have never and were never meant to be used against lawmakers whose sole fault was they disagreed with you on the issues. They’re designed to target people who may have committed crimes or were guilty of gross misconduct in office,” says Senator Sylvia Allen, President Pro Tem of the Senate.

“But Democrats are now talking about making this their go-to strategy. Contact some outside interests, pay people to collect signatures, and bingo, you have a recall election. This is no way to govern.”

Democrats also boycotted meetings for the recent Joint Legislative Committee on Redistricting, even though many members of their party complained about the draft maps and the process.

Democrats are also twisting last night’s recall election results into a referendum against enforcement of illegal immigration. SB 1070 remains widely popular in Arizona, and the bulk of the law is being enforced in our state.

“SB 1070 mirrored federal immigration law. We must have legislation like this, because there is no physical barrier at the border. The border is not secure,” says Senator Allen.

# # #

Phoenix, Tucson, Recall Elections: Predictions Anyone?

Here’s your chance to make predictions regarding the outcome of the elections. (Please keep it civil!)

Weekend Vids: Schapira vs. Kavanagh, Lewis vs. Pearce & Gullett vs. Stanton

What Jerry Lewis Really Thinks About Mesa and Arizona

Greg Patterson on Sunday Square-Off

Watch as fellow conservative blogger of EspressoPundit.com, Greg Patterson, make sense of the media hypocrisy in the Legislative District 18 recall election:

Senate President Pearce talks about improving economic numbers in Arizona

Senate President Russell Pearce sits down with Arizona Capitol Television to talk about rising state revenues, a balanced budget and what they mean to Arizona’s economy: