Sunday, November 06, 2011

Pearce camp digging deep into bag of dirty tricks as recall election draws near

On Tuesday, voters in Mesa's LD18 will decide the political fate of State Sen. Russell Pearce, and in the light of recent polls that show him in a dead heat with or even behind his challenger, Jerry Lewis, Pearce and his followers are getting desperate.

After running a sham candidate, Olivia Cortes, in an attempt to siphon votes from Lewis, only to see her withdraw from the race, they are now running a robocall targeted at Latino voters. 

Note:  The animation is not part of the robocall, just the audio.

The call, with an actor using a Hispanic accent and trying to sound like a Democrat, is trying to suppress the anti-Pearce vote by announcing that Pearce and Lewis are Republicans (true) and that Democrats can effectively protest the lack of a Democratic candidate on the ballot by writing in another name, any other name (not true - under AZ law, such votes are meaningless unless the write-in candidate has previously registered with the AZ Secretary of State).

Stephen Lemons of the Phoenix New Times has complete coverage here.

The political committee behind the robocalls is Safeguard Arizona's Future, SOS info here.  It is chaired by Ronald Ludders, a tea party type and an employee of the Arizona Corporation Commission (according to his Facebook page).  So far this cycle, they've reported almost no activity and only $327 cash on hand.  My guess is that the robocalls cost more than that, so there should be some activity reported in the next filing.

Regardless of how Tuesday's election turns out, expect the dirty tricks to continue next year - Ludders formed a new committee just last week, Arizona Project.  Given his tea party and ACC connections, one can guess where he will find money to spend/launder for R candidates.

Because while some pundits have declared that Pearce's political career is on the line Tuesday, I believe that he is arrogant enough that if he loses, he will A) fight to overturn the election results in court, and B) will not take the hint and go away.  No matter what, he will be running for some office next year.

Still, better that he does that as a challenger than as an incumbent.  

The Lewis campaign and Citizens for a Better Arizona have big GOTV efforts planned; contact either to volunteer to help out.

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