Pima County secession movement throws party

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Thursday wasn't just Cinco de Mayo in the Old Pueblo, it was Free Baja Arizona day.  A day commemorated ever since the Pima County board of supervisors, passed a resolution in 1987.

The "Start our State" movement is using the day to kick start its drive for signatures.  And the movement is gathering some attention.

The movement supporters want to secede from Arizona and join the U.S. as the 51st state.

To do that, they need lots of signatures and what better way to get those, then to throw a party.

"We're celebrating free Baja Arizona Day today," said Peter Hormel from Start our State.

Beer, popcorn and talk of secession this wasn't your average Cinco de Mayo celebration.

We thought we would use that, and have a celebration here to kick off our petition drive.

Start our Staters crowded into the Shanty to vent about the State Legislature.

"We have some way to channel that frustration and people are excited about it," said Hormel.

The goal is to secede from Arizona.  To do that, they put pen to paper and signed petitions.

"Well we had none about half an hour ago and we're filling up the pages as we speak," said Hormel.

The movement's been mocked, grabbing the attention of comedians like Jon Stewart.

Even supporters say success is unlikely.

"As unlikely and improbable the concept is, if we don't get started, nothing will ever improve.  If we can even make some statement that will be worthwhile," said Hormel.

But the push has also been praised.  Even some state lawmakers think it's worth a shot.

"I think people should take it seriously," said supporter John Valdata.

They have 14 months and it's going to take a lot to get it done.

"The collection of many many signatures," said Valdata.

Secession supporters have their work cut out for them.  They have until July 5, 2012 to collect over 47,000 signatures.  If those are collected, voters will get to decide what they want to do.