New lawsuit over Pearce recall election


by Fields Moseley

Bio | Email | Follow: @fieldsmoseley

Posted on September 25, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 26 at 10:23 AM

PHOENIX - There are new developments regarding the Russell Pearce recall election and candidate Olivia Cortes.  

Many say she is a sham designed to siphon votes from Pearce's other challenger, Jerry Lewis.  

After the secretary of state's office said it will not investigate allegations of fraud, a Mesa woman filed a lawsuit. 

Cortes is starting to look more like a legitimate candidate to challenge Senate President Russell Pearce. Her website went live Friday and she issued a press release that says, "I want to have an opportunity, to bring into this race my points of view and observations as a Permanent Alien and later Naturalized American Citizen for over forty years.”

Cortes was home Tuesday and didn't answer when I dropped by. She didn't respond Friday when 3TV's Frank Camacho left her a note or when I called later. 

“I don't know the answer but it leads us all to be a little suspicious when she won't answer,” said Bettina Nava of Firststrategic. “I've never heard of a candidate that didn't want a little exposure.”

As odd as it might seem, the Arizona Secretary of State's office is determined it will not investigate whether Cortes is a shill candidate. 

On late Friday Pearce recall-supporter Mary Lou Boettcher filed suit against that office, Maricopa County Clerk and the Board of Supervisors saying in part, “Contestant alleges Ms. Cortes is a registered Republican and a member of the "Tea Party."  

Ms. Cortes is a well-known supporter of recalled Senator Russell Pearce. 

Some political strategists say even if Pearce and Cortes are aligned, it's within the rules. 

“Everybody knew what was available and what strategies were out there,” said Marcus Dell'Artino. “Quite frankly, a lot of people saw this type of action coming.”

Pearce’s campaign did not comment on the issue but has said in the past that he does not know Olivia Cortes.