Even if Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce loses his recall fight Tuesday, there’s a good chance he could be back in the state Legislature a year from now.
The recall election pitting Mr. Pearce against another Mormon Republican, Jerry Lewis, is expected to come down to the wire. Let’s say Mr. Pearce is recalled but decides to run again in 2012. Given his popularity with party activists and track record as the state’s preeminent border-security hawk, Mr. Pearce stands a strong chance of winning the GOP primary, even if he’s not the incumbent.
The general election is all but a gimme for the Republican candidate in the conservative Mesa district.
“If he is recalled, he would only be out of office for 11 months because he would be overwhelmingly reelected the following year,” said Tom Tancredo, the former GOP congressman from Colorado and Pearce ally on immigration issues. “Everyone I talk to down there, even his opponents, agree that’s the likely scenario, that Russell Pearce will be back in a year.”
His chances in the recall election are iffier because Mr. Lewis is likely to siphon off some of Mr. Pearce’s Republican support, while capturing the entire Democratic vote and most of the independents.