Arizona: Cortes drops out of recall election | Mohave Daily News

A Mesa woman running in Senate President Russell Pearce’s recall election has dropped out of the race, halting a legal challenge that claims she was a fraudulent candidate meant to siphon votes from the contest’s other contender.

Olivia Cortes filed a voluntary withdrawal with the Arizona secretary of state’s office Thursday. She later issued a statement saying she dropped out of the race because of what she called “constant intimidation and harassment” of herself, her family, friends and neighbors.

“So for me, the dream of having a voice has died,” Cortes’ statement said, adding that she wanted to address economic, education and immigration concerns. Cortes lawyer Anthony Tsontakis said earlier that his client accepted an offer by attorneys for a Pearce critic to cancel a court hearing Friday if she stepped out of the race.

Arizona: Why the lawsuit against Olivia Cortes had to be aggressively defended | Anthony Tsontakis/Arizona Capitol Times

It’s not because the lawsuit was politically motivated. Everyone knows how unapologetically brutal politics can be. And it’s not because the lawsuit was brought to defame Ms. Cortes, either. Placing your name on a ballot is the functional equivalent of sending the world an open invitation to attack your character.

The reason the lawsuit against Olivia Cortes had to be aggressively defended, rather, is that it asked a judge, without statutory authorization, to inquire into the political beliefs, motivations, associations, and activities of ordinary citizens — and then to find legal liability where no law says there is: in the details of those ideologies, agendas, friends, and practices.

Tom Ryan, the plaintiff’s attorney, built the bulk of his case against Cortes around one concept: the political motivations of Ms. Cortes’ nomination petition circulators.