...and I'm not talking about just East Valley Congressman Jeff Flake choosing to run for US Senate, opening up his spot in the US House of Representatives.
The creation of a new Congressional district, combined with the continuing fallout from the now-famous recall election loss of former state senator Russell Pearce, is serving as the catalyst for a shake up among politicos in Mesa.
While checking for open campaign committees, I found that five people, State Rep. Cecil Ash, former Mesa city council member Kyle Jones, automotive technician instructor David Lane, Town of Gilbert purchasing specialist Jess Romney (Rs one and all) and corporate pilot Fred Sossaman (I), all have open committees for a run at the North Mesa Justice of the Peace slot currently held by Lester Pearce.
Who doesn't have an open committee for that particular race?
Hmmmm. It's rather unusual for that many folks of the same party as an entrenched incumbent to go after a seat held by that incumbent. Unless they know that incumbent isn't trying to keep his job. That discrepancy piqued my interest, piqued it enough to inspire me to engage in some intense research.
"Intense" meaning that I called a friend in Mesa and asked him if he had heard anything. :)
According to the rumor mill there, Lester Pearce is facing possible disciplinary action for his direct involvement with both his brother's campaign and with putting a "sham" candidate on the ballot in an attempt to split the "anti-Pearce" vote in the recall election. Turns out that it is frowned on when sitting judges do such things. Who knew? :)
According to the rumors, he has been quietly advised that it would be best for all concerned that he not run for reelection.
Note: the specifics of the rumors could be a little off as my friend is not hard-wired into the smoke-filled backrooms of R politics in Mesa. However, they do fit the known facts.
Besides this stuff, Lester is known to be as "creative" in his worldview as his brother and for bringing that creativity to work with him (lots of complaints filed, lots of defense motions for a change of venue/judge.)
Now add into this mix Don Stapley, current Maricopa County supervisor, who is mulling a run at the new 9th Congressional District.
It seems that Lester Pearce is eyeing Stapley's seat on the MCBOS in turn. The only real question is if Pearce would challenge Stapley in a primary if Stapley chooses to forego a run for Congress (best guess: Pearce would go for it).
On top of that, Russell Pearce is making moves to run for AZ senate again, though he may go in another direction (say...if Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio resigns or retires in the face of the ongoing USDOJ inquiry).
Now, just to spice things up a little, the rumors are that the next generation of Pearces are thoroughly peeved at the travails of their elders and are looking for a little payback/redemption for the Pearce brand. One or more of them may run for an office (JP?, constable?, city council?, lege?).
Note on the above: even my source admitted the least confidence in the last rumor, but it is well-known that the Pearces in general are still ticked off, which isn't really a surprise.
Still, regardless of which Pearce(s) runs for which office(s), it's going to be an interesting spring, summer, and fall...
Note: As of this writing, I can't find any paperwork for any new campaign committees in the name of Pearce or Stapley at the county, state, or federal levels.