Russell Pearce breaks silence on recall effort


by Stacey Delikat

Posted on July 20, 2011 at 9:14 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 20 at 9:18 PM

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. - Senate President Russell Pearce says he's ready to take on any potential challengers in the November recall election against him.

Pearce spoke publicly about the recall for the first time since the election was officially set.

Pearce attended an event in support of a border security website in Casa Grande Wednesday and, surrounded by supporters, he said he's taking the recall election seriously.

"You take everything seriously, it's a non-partisan special election, that's always a concern," he said.

Last week Governor Jan Brewer issued an official call for the election on November 8. It came after Pearce opponents spent months gathering petition signatures to force the recall.

Opponents say Pearce is too extreme and has hurt Arizona's image and economy.

"The recall effort is an effort to remove me because I've done what I said I would do. That is balance the budget, protect moms and dads, school choice, protect the border," Pearce said.

On Monday Pearce supporters filed a legal complaint challenging the signature-gathering efforts of Citizens for a Better Arizona.

Pearce says he's recieved phone calls and emails from people who say they were mislead into signing a recall petition.

"People said, 'I never signed this and and they called me and said thanks for signing, I never signed'. Or folks say, 'We didn't sign a recall, I was told it was a restoration of AHCCCS', or some other issue," Pearce said.

Pearce's comments come on the same day that officials confirmed his first potential opponent had taken steps to enter the race.

Mesa audiologist Tommy Cattey, a registered Independent, says he wants to challenge Pearce because he believes the Senate Bill 1070 architect is "an embarassment to Arizona."

Cattey has no political experience and is an ordained pastor and a retired Marine.

Mesa Republican and Mormon leader Jerry Lewis is said to be considering entering the race.

Pearce called Lewis a friend and said he had nothing against him.

"Good people can disagree, ask any married person," Pearce said.