Senate President Russell Pearce Recall

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A judge has ruled that a special election to recall Senate President Russell Pearce can be held in November as planned. Chad Snow, Chairman of “Citizens for a Better Arizona”, the group that has forced the recall election, talks about the court ruling and their campaign.


José Cárdenas: Thank you for joining us. I'm José Cárdenas. An Arizona judge ruled last week that the recall election to oust senate president Russell Pearce can be held November 8th as planned. In an 11-page ruling, a Maricopa County superior court judge rejected nearly all of the arguments alleging problems with the recall petition. With me to talk about the ruling and recall effort is Chad snow, a valley attorney and chairman for the citizens for a better Arizona. Thanks for joining us.

Chad Snow: Thanks for having me.

José Cárdenas: There's a interesting story how you got involved. Why don't you share that with us.

Chad Snow: It was back in July 2008, when there was a citizens' group protesting Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the board of directors and I was -- the board of supervisors and I ended up getting hauled away in handcuffs and that's how we got to know each other and met down the jail.

José Cárdenas: As I understand it, you were stopped, and then the deputy said no, those aren't the guys. Elaborate.

Chad Snow: I was pulled out of the meeting in handcuffs and held and another deputy comes down and says, that's the wrong guy and as I was led out, the leader of the group at that time was being led down the hallway and I was so outraged by that, that injustice, I volunteered to represent Randy and we became friends.

José Cárdenas: You're an attorney by practice?

Chad Snow: Correct.

José Cárdenas: You ended up hooking up to launch the recall effort? Tell us how it began and how you got to where you had the number of signatures you needed to get this on the ballot.

Chad Snow: We started talking about this in November and December of 2010 when Russell Pearce was elected by the Republicans to be the president of the senate and wanted to see what his agenda would be. If he was going to pursue issues important to Arizonans or pursue, you know, the radical extreme agenda he's historically pursued in the legislature and we took a letter to him on the opening day of the legislature and said, senator Pearce, these are the issues important to Arizonans, job growth, the economy, education, healthcare, things like that. This is what we want you to focus on and it became apparent --

José Cárdenas: Focus on that as opposed to immigration issues.

Chad Snow: Not just immigration, it became parent early on he introduced gun legislation and the birther bill and these extreme positions that don't help every-day Arizonans.

José Cárdenas: You got 17,000 signatures, I think?

Chad Snow: Correct, January 31st, we pulled the signatures and told we needed --

José Cárdenas: You were told there was no way this was going to happen. How did you pull it off?

Chad Snow: We said in a lot of way, senator Pearce was our best friend, he did so many outrageous things as senate president. One of the main things is the Fiesta Bowl scandal. You have an senate president who it was shown to have accepted $40,000 in gifts from an organization he was pushing millions of taxpayer funded subsidies for. That was something that got traction with the voters and energized people who wanted to get active in the campaign.

José Cárdenas: And that included many Republicans.

Chad Snow: Absolutely, we were told -- approached early on by some of the Republican precinct compete people, who told us, we don't support senator Pearce. It's interesting. He wasn't chosen by the Republicans in his own district to represent them at the state party level and not popular even with the Republicans in his own district and they said if you make this opportunity, we'll find a good candidate to run against him.

José Cárdenas: He's been able to generate support from across the nation and locally, figures as the governor and other political heavy weights. How was he able to do that?

Chad Snow: It's interesting you talk about where his support is coming from. None is coming from inside his own district. He's having a fundraiser in Phoenix, not in his district that's hosted by nine lobbyists and that's really -- those are the people still loyal to him. He's criticized our effort for being influenced by out of state and out of district interests, but that's hypocritical when his support is from outside of the district and state.

José Cárdenas: Have you received out of state support for your efforts?

Chad Snow: No -- well, little. 93% of our financial contributions came from inside of the state of Arizona.

José Cárdenas: Let's talk about the challenge to the petition and the judge's ruling knowledge

Chad Snow: We were aware that might happen and I think it's a very desperate attempt by senator Pearce to avoid a election he knows he cannot win. A month ago he was saying, I think on this very program, I welcome this election.

José Cárdenas: He wasn't on our program. He's never come on this program.

Chad Snow: On a sister program, saying I'm looking forward to the election. As soon as a credible candidate, Jerry Lewis, to run against him, I think he realized it's someone he can't beat and resorted to desperation tactics -- the court challenge to the signatures and got launched into personal attacks against the organizers of the recall.

José Cárdenas: What kind of accusations?

Chad Snow: Open borders anarchists and cartel members and every name in the book. There's a saying that said if you can't beat a man's argument, don't panic, you can still call him names. And that's what he has reduced to. He hasn't answered our questions about economic growth -- our main issues.

José Cárdenas: Just to be clear, the senator hasn't been on the show but it's not for lack of inviting him. What was the judge's ruling?

Chad Snow: Again, very specious arguments. One was that the form itself doesn't conform with the statutory requirement and that's the form that was given to us by the secretary of state, the elected official in charge of those things. Another claim, that it was misleading, that people wouldn't know they were steining for the recall of senator president Pearce. At the top of the form it says we're asking to recall senator Pearce, that's why we think it's a desperation attempt to avoid the election.

José Cárdenas: As I understand it, senator Pearce tried to take it to the Arizona Supreme Court.

Chad Snow: The briefing is due next week and there will be a oral argument September 7th and if he does take it to the Supreme Court, which we fully expect, it needs to be done by September 23rd.

José Cárdenas: He tried to bypass the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court said no, you have to take it to them first.

Chad Snow: I think the ballots need to be printed by September 23rd, the courts made it clear they'll have this procedure done in time for that.

José Cárdenas: Let's talk about the candidates. You mentioned Jerry Lewis.

Chad Snow: I have never met Mr. Lewis and candidly, the organizers -- he was drafted by the Republicans in district 18. He has a background in finance and education. He's been a leader in the LDS church and boy scouts of America.

José Cárdenas: And there are other candidates?

Chad Snow: Just one came out yesterday. I don't know his name. A libertarian who has run in the district before. Ooze there's another candidate, Olivia Cortez, someone recruited by Russell Pearce kind of in a cynical way to draw the Latino vote away from whoever runs against him. We'll look closely at her candidacy to see if it's legitimate.

José Cárdenas: Going forward, your group isn't supporting any particular candidate.

Chad Snow: As of right now, no, we're a get out of the vote campaign. There to educate the people in LD18 what senator Pearce's record is and what he's about. I would say that Jerry Lewis looks like a perfect candidate to represent them.

José Cárdenas: Any predictions?

Chad Snow: It's a different dynamic -- it becomes an open primary where Democrats and independents can vote for a Republican and we hope to narrow it down to two Republicans and make it a different race than any he's had to run against before.
José Cárdenas: Chad Snow, thank you very much for joining us on Horizonte.

Chad Snow: Thank you.

Chad Snow: Chairman of Citizens for a Better Arizona;

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