Group closer to recalling Sen. Russell Pearce

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PHOENIX - No group has been able to successfully recall an Arizona politician, but a group of Valley residents say they are close to recalling State Senate President Russell Pearce.

Although they are finding plenty of support going door to door in Pearce's own backyard, they are still fighting an uphill battle.
"We are gathering signatures to recall Russell Pearce," explained a volunteer knocking on doors in District 18.

It’s their last major push to gather signatures before the deadline.

“We've gotten three signatures already and we've only been at this for ten minutes," another volunteer said.

The group, Citizens for a Better Arizona, has until the end of the month to get almost 7,800 signatures. They said they are only a few hundred signatures away.

A volunteer was overheard talking to a potential voter, "regarding the Fiesta Bowl, he said he didn’t take tickets, but he did, then he said he paid the money back. "

Organizers said the signatures started pouring in after Pearce was linked to the recent Fiesta Bowl scandal. For volunteer Dana Marie Kennedy it's Russell Pearce's priorities that convinced her to grab a clipboard and help the cause.

"This has been a really difficult economy," Kennedy explained. "People are laid off of their jobs, people are losing their homes, and, what did they do? They debated what our state gun should be?"

The people behind this attempted recall feel Pearce's focus on immigration and gun rights has hurt the state.

"When it comes to education, schools are being closed," said Randy Parraz, one of the founders of Citizens for a Better Arizona. "Teachers are being laid off. When it comes to job creation, when it comes to home foreclosures, Mesa is one of the hardest hit economic areas. And, he has done nothing to help address those real problems."

If they get enough signatures, the recall election would take place in District 18 where last November Pearce won his senate seat in a landslide by more than 22 percent of the vote.

However, this group feels a lot has changed since 2010.

"We've had Republicans sign who say this is too extreme for us," Parraz said. "We've had people say my sister is on AHCCCS, you know, I want to sign this petition."

"I think it would send a huge message to all of our elected officials that if you are not doing your job, that if you are not being transparent, if you are not putting the needs of Arizona, of businesses first, you can be recalled," Kennedy said.

Citizens for a Better Arizona plans to turn the signatures in ten days before the deadline. If they do get enough signatures, it’s still unclear who would actually run against Russell Pearce in that recall election.

3TV tried to contact Russell Pearce's office. However, he was unavailable for comment.