Recalled Senate president Russell Pearce announces bid for new seat

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

MESA, Ariz. -- Less than five months after suffering a bruising recall election defeat, former state Senate president Russell Pearce is throwing his hat back in the ring.

Pearce told an enthusiastic crowd of Tea Party supporters that he'll seek re-election to the state Senate in the newly created Legislative District 25 in East Mesa.

"Truth is I've never retreated from a fight, I've never surrendered" Pearce said. "I know what's good for America, and I think America is on my side."

Pearce lost his seat in LD 18 in November to political newcomer Jerry Lewis in an historic recall election, but said he did not think that defeat would hurt his chances this time around.

"The recall was not a primary; they went around the primary process" he said. "That came from outside the district, outside the state."

One of the organizers of the recall, Randy Parraz, who does not live in Mesa, said he was surprised Pearce would run again so soon after losing the recall.

"He thinks he can repackage this thing and sell it again; I don't think so. It's the same type of district as he just got recalled in," Parraz said.

Supporters who showed up to hear Pearce make his announcement Monday night seemed to disagree and many said they were thrilled Pearce is re-entering politics.

Pearce already has at least one Republican challenger.

Earlier in the day East Valley entrepreneur Bob Worsley announced he will also run in LD 25.

Worsley, a CPA who is best known for founding SkyMall, the hugely successful in-flight shopping catalog, said in a statement that he was approached by civic and business leaders and asked to run in the district.

Worsley's statement said, in part: "I have never planned to run for office but my wife and I wish to serve our community at this stage of our lives. Arizona faces many challenges and I believe my past experience as an entrepreneur, a former CPA and cost cutter, is exactly what we need in politics right now.  I hope to serve the citizens of Mesa in the Senate because I believe if we work together, we can elevate our politics, strengthen our economy, and prepare Mesa and Arizona for the next phase of growth and achievement."

Pearce called Worsley a "good guy," but said he believed he could beat him if Worsley runs on a family values platform.

"He says he's about family values and limited government. If he's gonna run on those issues, I don't know how he does it, I'm at top of the list on every one of those issues," Pearce said.

LD 25 is currently represented by republican State Senator Rich Crandall. Crandall tweeted Monday night: "Happy to announce I'm throwing my support behind Bob Worsley as well as my entire campaign organiz. Mesa is lucky to have a winner step up!"