Huffpost Politics

Russell Pearce, Recalled Arizona Senate President, Loses Comeback Bid

Posted: Updated:
Former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce was defeated in a comeback bid Tuesday night.
Former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce was defeated in a comeback bid Tuesday night.

Recalled Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce's bid for a comeback was rejected by voters in a Mesa-area district Tuesday night.

Businessman Bob Worsley defeated Pearce 56 percent to 44 percent in the GOP primary for the Repubican-leaning seat, the Arizona Republic reported. Pearce, who was recalled by voters last November following his authorship of Arizona's controversial immigration law, was seeking a return to the Senate in the newly drawn district.

Pearce, a former chief deputy sheriff in Maricopa County, rocketed to national attention in 2010 by authoring SB 1070, the immigration law that allows law enforcement agents to seek immigration papers from suspected undocumented immigrants. The law was partially overturned by the Supreme Court in June.

Pearce, who served as Senate president for most of 2011, lost his seat to fellow Republican Jerry Lewis after being recalled. Both Lewis and Worsley are seen as more moderate Republicans than Pearce.

Pearce, who headed the state motor vehicles department in the 1990s, has sought a comeback since leaving the Senate. In January Pearce was elected to the number two post in the state Republican Party, just before he launched his Senate campaign.

Pearce's campaign was mired by a number of setbacks. He had to backtrack from comments he made following the Aurora movie theater shooting and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R), an ally during Pearce's Senate tenure, declined to endorse his comeback campaign. Mexican restaurants in the area also declined Pearce's request to host fundraisers for him due to the immigration law.

Two Democrats prevailed in their primaries even after opponents tried to tie them to Pearce. Former state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D), who had to explain her decision not to publicly support Pearce's recall as well as her comment that she had a deep affection for Pearce, defeated state Senate Minority Leader David Schapira and former state Democratic Party Chairman Andrei Cherny to win the Democratic nomination for a newly created Phoenix-area congressional seat.

State House Minority Leader Chad Campbell defeated a primary opponent who had tried to tie him into an ethics investigation involving Pearce receiving a free trip to the Fiesta Bowl.

Elsewhere in Arizona, Rep. Ron Barber (D), who was elected in June to succeed Gabrielle Giffords, easily defeated his primary challenger, state Rep. Matt Heinz (D), by 65 points to win the Democratic nomination for the Tucson-area seat. Barber, a former Giffords aide who was wounded in the 2011 assassination attempt on her, will face Republican Martha McSally in November. Heinz, a doctor who was the first candidate to enter the race to replace Giffords, said he'd be back to make a 2014 congressional bid in his concession statement.

“Tonight does not mark the end of my lifelong commitment to public service. I will find ways to continue to stay active in Tucson, and we will return for the 2014 congressional race," Heinz said in a statement emailed to reporters late Tuesday night. "We must continue to laying the ground work.”

Also on HuffPost:

Republican National Convention 2012
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

Worsley beats Russell Pearce in Mesa Senate race

Russell Pearce bid highlights Mesa races

Flake defeats Cardon, Russell Pearce trails

Early results: Worsley beating Pearce in Mesa Senate race

Pearce, Tobin face Arizona primary contests

“Russell Pearce Plank” in Republican platform

Russell Pearce Can't Shake His Ties to Neo-Nazi J.T. Ready

Pearce return, Gilbert mayor rerun highlight primary

The issue: Lawmakers linked to Fiesta Bowl scandal

 
  Obama Romney
Obama Romney
332 206
Obama leading
Obama won
Romney leading
Romney won
Popular Vote
33 out of 100 seats are up for election. 51 are needed for a majority.
Democrat leading
Democrat won
Holdover
Republican leading
Republican won
Democrats* Republicans
Current Senate 53 47
Seats gained or lost +2 -2
New Total 55 45
* Includes two independent senators expected to caucus with the Democrats: Angus King (Maine) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.).
All 435 seats are up for election. 218 are needed for a majority.
Democrat leading
Democrat won
Republican leading
Republican won
Democrats Republicans
Seats won 201 234
Click for Full Results
Register To Vote