Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, sponsor of the nation’s most controversial anti-immigration law, has become the first legislator in his state’s history to face a recall election.
Pearce was the author of SB 1070, Arizona’s law requiring law enforcement to pull over any motorist suspected of being an illegal immigrant and demand proof of legal residency or citizenship. It was signed into law in April 2010 by Governor Jan Brewer.
Opponents of Pearce collected more than 16,000 signatures from people in District 18 for a recall petition that required about 7,700 names. Local elections officials certified at least 10,300 signatures were valid, making the recall official.
Pearce now has two choices: resign from office within five days; or become a candidate for his seat in a special election slated for November.
Supporters of the Republican state senator expect him to fight for his seat. But he will do it with limited participation from corporate interests. The day before the recall signatures were certified, Arizona’s solicitor general informed Pearce that the law forbids direct contribution of corporate or union money to recall campaigns. However, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2009 Citizen United ruling will allow contributions to his cause through third-party Super Pacs.