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His backing of Senate Bill 1070 may have earned him the censure of the Obama administration - the Justice Department is among those challenging the law - but the law remains popular in Arizona. Gov. Jan Brewer’s decision to sign the bill last year is widely viewed as the move that won her the Republican primary and allowed her to coast to re-election.

“Clearly she was in favor of 1070 and clearly it helped her,” said Ed Phillips, a spokesman for Citizens Who Oppose the Pearce Recall.

Mrs. Brewer also was targeted for recall this year, but obtaining the number of signatures required to recall a statewide figure proved too difficult.

“It was the same people, the open-borders type,” Mr. Phillips said. “The difference is, he’s a smaller target.”

Weighing against Mr. Pearce is that he won’t be the Republican Party nominee because none of the candidates on the recall ballot will go through a primary. The ideal scenario for the anti-Pearce side would be one opponent, preferably another Mormon Republican, Mr. O'Neil said.

No candidate has filed to run against Mr. Pearce, but rumor has it that he could be challenged by Republican Jerry Lewis, a charter-schools executive who is a leader of the local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mr. Lewis released a statement Friday saying he will make a decision this week.

“If [Mr. Pearce] gets several opponents, game over. He could win with 40 percent of the vote,” Mr. O'Neil said. “The Democrats have to be smart and stay out. They can’t win in this district.”

Whatever the result, analysts predict the Pearce election will inject a large dose of excitement into the typically humdrum off-year election cycle.

“This will be a big race,” Mr. Tancredo said. “He’s a nationwide leader on immigration issues. There’s going to be money coming in from all over the place.”