Once the signatures were validated, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, a staunch political ally of Pearce, had no effective alternative but to authorize a recall election, and did so without hesitation, setting an election date of November 8th. The Secretary of State's Office will begin accepting signatures and candidate filings on August 10th; prospective opponents must collect 621 signatures, two percent of the number of votes cast in the last election.
However, Senator Pearce still retains fundamental grass-roots support, and he and his partisans are determined to fight back. A website entitled ProtectAmericanPatriot has been formed to coordinate Pearce's re-election efforts and to solicit financial support:
Naturally, because Russell Pearce is an observant member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the anti-Pearce forces fantasize at the prospect of finding a "tame" Mormon to run against him. And they may get their wish in the person of Jerry H. Lewis, who has expressed interest. Lewis, who has served the Church and the Lord as a bishop and who was honorably released as the president of the Mesa Arizona Maricopa Stake, tends to be representative of the modern corporate Mormon who considers shopping malls to be just as important as temples. In contrast, Pearce is a more traditionally-minded Mormon who believes patriotism, character and integrity should take precedence. Lewis, billed as a conservative, is currently assistant superintendent at Sequoia Schools, a statewide operator of charter schools, and is married with seven children and six grandchildren.
One item of more legitimate concern is the allegation that Senator Pearce received free tickets to football games from Fiesta Bowl representatives; the total value of the freebies are alleged to be $39,000 from 2002 to 2009. Although free trips to such games are legal, since state lobbying laws allow lawmakers to accept free lodging and travel, new statutes promulgated in 2000 have included an entertainment ban prohibiting Arizona lawmakers from accepting tickets or admission to any sporting or cultural event for free. Other lawmakers caught up in the expose have reimbursed the Fiesta Bowl for game tickets they accepted while participating in cross-country junkets paid for by the bowl and its representatives, but Senator Pearce denies having received free tickets. He'll need to put forth a better explanation of this dichotomy during the recall election campaign.
Ironically, one of Pearce's most prominent supporters is the very same Governor Brewer who approved the recall election. The Sonoran Alliance records a full statement of support from Brewer; here's the most pertinent part of her statement:
...The very same organizations and individuals who organized boycotts of Arizona, who opposed me in my last election, and who have consistently been advocates for unsustainable government spending are at it again. This time they mean to recall from office my friend and colleague State Senate President Russell Pearce.
I have known Russell for over two decades; a dedicated law enforcement officer, shot in the line of duty, a fiscal conservative who has consistently been a voice and a vote for decreased government spending, an uncompromising advocate for State’s Rights and now a national leader in our fight to enforce our nation’s immigration laws and to secure our border.
His unwavering dedication to enforcing the rule of law will help save our country from an Obama administration dedicated to undermining our nation’s immigration laws. Until the rule of law is established on both sides of the Arizona-Mexico border there will be no peace, no future economic opportunity and no hope or resolving these issues undermining Arizona’s continued economic prosperity...
Another prominent supporter is former Congressman J.D. Hayworth, who in May 2011, speaking figuratively, said that the recall effort of state Senate President Russell Pearce is supported by "the very same socialist thugs who carry swastikas and call ALL conservatives 'Hitler.'" Another supporter is Thoughts On Mesa who also praises Pearce's record:
Senator Pearce...has fought to protect Arizona and its citizens from an illegal invasion. He has fought for education and charter schools and keeping the funding. He has fought fought to reduce government waste; he implemented tenant city while at Sheriffs department, at DMV he he cut wait time and implemented online services saving tax payers money. He has protected Arizona citizens gun rights and their right to carry open/concealed. He has fought to bring jobs to Arizona through a package of job benefits. He has been a dedicated servant to the people, even being shoot while on duty as sheriffs deputy; he son was even shoot by an illegal alien while on duty for the sheriffs department. He was instrumental in bringing millions of dollars to the state through bowl games.
Notwithstanding the Fiesta Bowl allegations, they are merely a distraction. The anti-Pearce forces have been pushing to remove Pearce from office ever since SB1070 was passed. Pearce has been falsely smeared as racist and nativist, and continues to be linked with neo-Nazi Jason T. Ready, although Ready and Pearce severed their political alliance once Ready publicly embraced national socialism. If Russell Pearce is successfully recalled, it will weaken Arizona's ability to protect itself against illegal immigration.