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Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce likely will face a recall election to hand onto his seat in the Legislature, either in November or next March.

The timing couldn't be better for Pearce's political opponents, who took out recall petitions against the Mesa Republican in January. Their stated cause was to remove him for his successful push for anti-immigration legislation in Arizona, most notably the notorious SB1070.

Then, in the midst of the petition drive, along came a political plum for the anti-Pearce crowd: word that his name was mentioned prominently in the investigative report on the misdeeds of Fiesta Bowl executives.

Pearce was reported to be among 16 legislators who got free tickets and took all-expenses-paid junkets to college football games for the Fiesta Bowl. At first, he denied doing anything wrong, then reimbursed the Fiesta Bowl for tickets and amended 10 years' worth of financial and gift reports he is required to file as a legislator.

Jeremy Duda of the Arizona Capitol Times said for Friday's Arizona Week broadcast that he thinks Pearce's involvement and lack of consistent, clear explanation of what happened could hurt him in the recall drive.

The signatures are still being counted, as the opposition has yet not identified a candidate to oppose Pearce, who has served in one house or another of the Legislature for 10 years. The election could be held as early as this November.


Sahuarita’s city council elected a new mayor this week, choosing a newer council member to replace 12-year councilmember Lynne Skelton. Skelton has been on the council since 1999, and she’ll continue to serve as a council member after her reelection to another four-year term this year. The new town mayor, Duane Blumberg, was elected to Sahuarita’s Town Council two years ago.

The South Tucson City Council is scheduled to elect one of its seven members as mayor June 20. The current mayor is Jennifer Eckstrom, who was reelected to the council this year. She’s been a South Tucson councilmember for 16 years and served as mayor for 6 of those years.

In the city of Tucson, where voters elect a mayor directly, Bob Walkup is not seeking reelection, so someone new will take the seat late this year.

Mayors of the local jurisdictions usually have duties beyond their town limits. They make decisions about regional issues while serving on the Pima Association of Governments and Regional Transportation Authority boards.

Sahuarita South-Tucson Tucson,


State Senators Al Melvin and Frank Antenori said during an interview today there's no rift between Legislative Republicans and the party's top elected official, Gov. Jan Brewer.

The question came up during an interview about the party's failure to extend unemployment benefits this week during a special legislative session. Brewer asked them to make the change, but they ended the two-day session without passing an extension. This followed a regular session in which she vetoed some of the party's high-profile bills.

Why, then, aren't the Legislature and the governor on the same page? Any rift, the senators said, is between Republican legislators and the governor's staff, not her personally.

Watch the full interview about the special session tonight on Arizona Illustrated, KUAT channel 6, or online.


Maricopa County elections officials have verified as valid more than enough signatures on petitions to trigger a recall election for Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, the Arizona Capitol Times reports.

Elections officials said more than 8,239 signatures collected by Citizens for a Better Arizona have been validated; the group needed 7,756 valid signatures to trigger the recall. Another 3,500 or so signatures must be checked.

The recall election against Pearce, a most willing lightning rod and protagonist for conservative Republicans leading the state Legislature, could occur as early as this November.

His district is in a heavily Republican part of Mesa.


Read a good rundown from the Arizona Capitol Times' Caitlin Coakley here on the potential appearance of cracks in what has been a pretty solid wall of Republican majority rule in Arizona state government.

The vitriol between Democrats and Republicans in the Arizona Senate last week at the opening of the special session on extending unemployment benefits was but a sideshow to that perhaps bigger issue: that GOP legislators aren't all in lock step.

It showed when GOP Gov. Jan Brewer called the special session despite several of her party's legislative leaders saying they opposed the benefits extension.

It came clear into the open when both houses of the Legislature recessed quickly Friday without taking any action on the governor's proposal. That's despite Brewer's claim that she went into it thinking she had the votes needed for passage and that she specifically had a deal with Senate President Russell Pearce.

What happens today -- and perhaps continuing this week -- when the Legislature reconvenes will be of high interest in relation to governance of the state.


According to a study in The Chronicle of Higher Education 34% of Arizona’s elected lawmakers have a Bachelor’s degree while only 16% of all Arizona residents have a Bachelor’s degree. According to the survey 16% of the Legislature has no college, 41% of Arizona residents never went to college.

The survey also shows that 45% of the Legislature attended a college or university in Arizona. Not surprisingly, most who did go to school in the state went to either ASU or UA.

When compared with legislative bodies across the country Arizona lawmakers are slightly less educated than other groups of state lawmakers. The survey shows that 27% of the Arizona lawmakers have either no college or did not earn a degree. Nationally, that number stands at 17%.

About Political Buzz

News, commentary, analysis from the AZPM political team: Christopher Conover, Andrea Kelly, Michael Chihak.