Pearce foes have gathered enough names to force recall vote, officials say
State election officials announced Friday there are more than enough signatures to force Senate President Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, to defend his seat.
Elections Director Amy Bjelland formally certified there are 10,365 valid signatures on the petitions. Only 7,756 were needed.
Gov. Jan Brewer now has 15 days to call the election, something she cannot legally refuse to do. That means the vote will come on the next available election date, Nov. 8, unless there is a legal challenge.
Hauser said she will present Pearce with various legal theories on how the certification might be challenged.
But Pearce said he has no plans to take the issue to court.
“I’m ready for an election,” he said, citing his 16-0 record in primary and general elections, to date.
Once the governor calls the election, challengers will have until Sept. 9 to submit nominating petitions with at least 621 valid signatures. Pearce, by virtue of his incumbency, does not need to do that.
Unlike regular elections, though, this is a single vote open to all registered voters of all parties or no party at all, with no primary to narrow the field. Whoever gets the most votes would serve out the balance of the term through the end of 2012.