Chaos erupted Friday in the recall election of Senate President Russell Pearce. A Legislative District 18 voter filed a lawsuit alleging that Olivia Cortes is a sham candidate running with the intention of pulling votes away from candidate Jerry Lewis to help Pearce. The Secretary of State’s Office declined to investigate the same complaint another district voter filed.
Cortes, who has for weeks evaded questions about her candidacy and political positions, on Friday sent out an e-mail announcing a campaign website and seeking voter support. Chandler attorney Tom Ryan filed the lawsuit on behalf of Mary Lou Boettcher. Ryan also represented Citizens for a Better Arizona, the group that collected signatures to get the recall on the ballot. Boettcher, a Republican, was involved in that group.
The lawsuit alleges that Cortes is a “well-known supporter” of Pearce and “has no campaign committee, no volunteers for her campaign and her campaign is being financed and operated entirely by those who wish to dilute the vote in favor of recalled Senator Russell Pearce.” It states that Cortes is a fraudulent and diversionary candidate, in violation of state law.
Ryan said the intent of the lawsuit is to get Cortes off the ballot. “There are laws enacted that you cannot in any way interfere with the free exercise of any voter,” he said. “You do not get to deceive voters.”
He said there is plenty of evidence to prove his allegation. He said media videos show that supporters of Pearce collected signatures to help get Cortes on the ballot. “It could be that the judge turns me down, but I’ll get my day in court and the evidence will come out,” he said.
Full Article: Recall bid vs. Pearce a fraud, 2nd claim says.