Recall election: Dirty politics or a crime?

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by Fields Moseley

Bio | Email | Follow: @fieldsmoseley

azfamily.com

Posted on September 21, 2011 at 6:08 AM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 21 at 6:52 AM

PHOENIX -- State Senate President and SB 1070 architect Russell Pearce is facing a recall election.  We've learned the secretary of state is investigating allegations one of the candidates is a sham, meant to help Pearce win the election.

Robert McDonald is no fan of Pearce, and he supports the upcoming recall election.

“I think he's all about himself,” McDonald said. 

The Democrat Precinct committeeman is now formally questioning whether Pearce supporters and candidate Olivia Cortes have committed election fraud.  He sent this letter to the secretary of state.

“I honestly believe Olivia Cortes is a shill candidate,” he said.  “I think she's a sham.”

McDonald isn't the first one to suggest Cortes' name is on the ballot simply to siphon votes away from the other Pearce challenger, Jerry Lewis.

We went to Cortes' Mesa home to talk about the election.  Somebody was inside, but didn’t answer.

Pearce was raising money this past weekend for the November election.  His spokesperson said the senator doesn't know Cortes or who recruited her.

Driving around Mesa, you see a lot of Pearce signs, Lewis signs, even these anti-recall signs, but we haven't seen anything that points to Cortes as a candidate.

In a YouTube video, Lewis' campaign manager appears to confront a Pearce supporter recently about collecting signatures for Cortes to make her a candidate.

McDonald wants the state to decide if this is dirty politics or criminal action.

“Where is she getting this money?” he asked.  “Where is she getting the funding for this?”

The Secretary of State's Office says it will look into the allegations but wouldn't comment further.

The Pearce campaign said it doesn't know anything about the Cortes campaign.
 

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