Mark down July 8th as a day history was made in Arizona.
In a swift affirmation of Arizona's fast-growing and powerful new political movement, Secretary of State Ken Bennett notified Gov. Jan Brewer that the once seemingly invincible architect of the state's controversial SB 1070 "papers please" immigration law has officially been recalled. Bennett confirmed that the recall petitions delivered by the Citizens for a Better Arizona "exceeds the minimum signatures required by the Arizona Constitution."
"Let's make no mistake about it," said Randy Parraz, co-founder of the Citizens for a Better Arizona. "Russell Pearce has been recalled."
According to Bennett's statement, Pearce has two options: Resign from office within five business days, or become a candidate in the recall election. Either way, Pearce becomes the first state senate president in recent memory to be recalled in the nation.
"No one expected this or picked up on this political earthquake," said Parraz, one of the main organizers behind the extraordinary grassroots campaign, which electrified a bipartisan effort in Pearce's Mesa district. Parraz credited a "dramatic shift" over the past six months due to Pearce's often extremist leadership in state senate.
"We had people pouring into the office," Parraz said, citing the role of Republicans, Democrats and Independents in the door-to-door canvassing initiative, "and they told us: Russell Pearce is too extreme for our district and state."
Beyond his self-proclaimed key role in the state's notorious SB 1070 law, Pearce oversaw a near circus-level of extremist and reckless legislation in the Arizona senate this past spring, including draconian cuts in education and health care. Mired in various scandals, Pearce infamously accused President Obama of "waging jihad" on America. And last month Fox News Phoenix explored his widely denounced connections to neo-Nazi hate groups. In a recent interview with FOX News, Pearce dismissed the recall effort as the work of "far left anarchists."
In truth, the Secretary of State's office confirmed that an additional one third of the necessary signatures had been properly collected and verified.
Within 15 days, Gov. Brewer must set the date for the recall election, which presumably will take place in November.
And while no single candidate has emerged to claim the frontrunner's position, one thing is clear: The Citizens for a Better Arizona has galvanized a new era in Arizona politics.