posted by Michael Chihak
The conservative stronghold that is the Arizona Legislature isn't immediately imperiled by the recall of Russell Pearce.
Given that Republicans still hold a 21-9 edge in the chamber and that Pearce is being replaced by another conservative, Jerry Lewis, the agenda should continue.
It just may continue in a slightly less dogmatic and acerbic way. And there may be a level of pragmatism added to the mix from new Senate President Steve Pierce of Prescott.
Arizona Capitol Times Senate reporter Luige del Puerto tells us that one potential area of change will be in the approach to immigration legislation. Russell Pearce pushed a new wave of anti-immigration bills in the spring, only to have them rebuffed by fellow Republicans, including Steve Pierce.
But del Puerto says if the details of that package of bills changes, even a tweaking, it could come back and be acceptable to the pragmatists.
Their worry about the bills from last spring was that with the Legislature pushing so hard, it was giving Arizona a bad reputation. Fifty big-name business leaders in the state urged the Legislature to back off.
Meanwhile, Democrats who think this is an opportunity for them to make some headway have two hard facts to face:
First, the GOP still holds super majorities for another full year AND the governor's seat, plus every other state elected office for another three years.
Second, Dems still can't get out the vote. Despite Democrats winning the Tucson mayoral race and all three City Council seats up for grabs, Republicans had an edge of several points over Democrats in turnout. In heavily Democratic Sunnyside School District, voter turnout was 19 percent.