Election Preview: Senate LD18 Recall Race

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Arizona Republic reporter Alia Rau provides a preview of the November 8th Senate LD18 recall election between incumbent Senate President Russell Pearce and challenger Jerry Lewis.

Ted Simons: Here now to talk more about the recall election in Mesa's District 18 is Alia Rau. She's been covering the race for "The Arizona Republic." Good to see you again. Thanks for joining us.

Alia Rau: Yeah. Thanks for having me.

Ted Simons: We heard about the "Capitol Times" poll. Statistical dead heat. Lewis a couple of percentage points. Does that surprise you?

Alia Rau: It doesn't. We've heard of polls for about a month saying similar things. It's a little bit surprising, close to the election. You would think that somebody would pull ahead.

Ted Simons: And 2.5% for Olivia Cortes even when told she is not in the race. We need to mention that the pollster told Jim that might be people pressing the wrong button on the phone or wanting to monkey with the system. 2.5% is a sizeable for folks who've just been told she is not in the race.
Alia Rau: Right.
Ted Simons: we are in the home statute. What are you seeing out there? Give us an overview.

Alia Rau: Everybody is going high speed. Sheriff Joe coming out this weekend to knock on doors for senator Pearce. The Lewis campaign out in the neighborhood and new videos coming out and independent groups spending all kinds of money throwing out mailers at the last minute. Everybody is going as hard as they can right now. Particularly because everybody does think it is dead heat. Anybody can win.

Ted Simons: As far as the backlash, are you hearing any backlash from the Cortes affair? Is that a play out there or is that old news now.

Alia Rau: It is little bit of old news. You can see this linger in the voters' minds as they go to cast their ballot. But in terms of talk, not hearing it as much.

Ted Simons: What are you hearing? What's the major issue right now?

Alia Rau: I think concern how the election is being played. You've got senator Pearce who has been tough. His campaign has made accusations and supporters made accusations against Lewis. He's been fighting in the election and Lewis said I'm going to stay positive and defended himself but hasn't come back. There are studies that say going negative, pushing hard works.

Ted Simons: The Pearce campaign seems to be targeting what as far as Lewis? Experience, what are they --

You're seeing some of that and his stance on immigration issues and that's the biggest difference between the two candidates and some say the only difference in terms of issues. You've got the accusations in terms of what may happen with him giving clothing that was donated to the homeless school to a teacher. Some things -- where the money is coming from. That's the big thing in the last couple weeks, who is getting the money? Who is spending money on your behalf.

Ted Simons: That idea that the recall has been led by outsiders, the Pearce campaign still pushing that pretty hard?

Alia Rau: Absolutely.

Alia Rau: How about the Lewis campaign that Russell Pearce is getting money from the outside.

Alia Rau: They're pushing on that too.

Ted Simons: What else is Lewis pushing here?

Alia Rau: He's still, like I said, hasn't gone after Pearce much. Your seeing a little bit from his campaign on where does Pearce's money come from, who is supporting Pearce. The amount of money or lack thereof that came donated to Pearce but for the most part, he's in a little bit of a defense mode in terms of defending himself.

Ted Simons: You mentioned Sheriff Arpaio going door to door, a shall the big Republicans still lining up behind Pearce. Making the robocalls or pounding on doors or where are they?

Alia Rau: For sure with the robo calls, not sure about knocking on the doors. We are seeing press realeases and e-mails. Yesterday, we got a surprise - "A email from Kirk Adams, the former speaker of the house who has stayed out of the race and been criticized for not backing Pearce and came out and criticized Pearce supporters for the negative attacks against Lewis. Didn't go as far as endorsing.

Ted Simons: Does something like that play out there? Could that swing --

Alia Rau: No, no, that's politics. I don't know about that, but it was fun.

Ted Simons: Also, the capitol times poll showed an even-steven split among LDS voters.
Alia Rau: Right.
Ted Simons: When you are out there You talking to folks here and there, seem like the same thing?

Alia Rau: Absolutely, the neighborhood -- certain neighborhoods are packed with signs. Some neighborhoods with street -- streets with a lot of Lewis signs and streets with a lot of Pearce signs. It's an emotional election.

Ted Simons: Can voters expect lots of mailers in their mailboxes the next few days?

Alia Rau: I would think so. But a lot of early voters are probably turning in stuff or have already.

Ted Simons: Have you heard anything along the line of a bombshell or something that someone is waiting for for the final weekend?

Alia Rau: Not yet. But there's always something.

Ted Simons: You never know. Well, thank you so much. I know it's a grind for you, but it's -- at least it's a close race. Covering a horse race.

Alia Rau: Absolutely, it's fun. Thank you.

Alia Rau:Arizona Republic;

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