Russell Pearce's Olivia Cortes Scandal: Video

This is part one of a video report on the shenanigans taking place at a recent Legislative District 19 GOP meeting in Mesa, which I blogged about yesterday. My colleague, videographer Dennis Gilman, will follow up with a part two, containing even juicier clips.

Can anyone now doubt that Olivia Cortes is a plant by supporters of state Senate President Russell Pearce? The intention, according to Cortes' paid petition gatherers, is to "dilute" the vote, by shaving away support for Mesa educator and former CPA Jerry Lewis. The pro-Pearce crowd hopes this will ensure a Pearce victory in the November 8 recall election.

However, the Cortes scandal continues to widen, delivering a PR nightmare to Pearce's doorstep. How to remedy this? Rumors abound, but one of the most plausible is that at some point, Pearce will ask Cortes to withdraw her candidacy. 

This would paint Pearce as an honorable man, while leaving Cortes' name on the ballot, and her notorious "Si se puede" signs up around Mesa. In other words, it would be a cynical gesture on Pearce's part, which is one reason why it seems so plausible.

In asking Cortes to withdraw, Pearce does not have to admit any knowledge of his supporters' shenanigans. And Cortes can continue to hide out in her modest Mesa apartment. The damage has already been done, and cannot be withdrawn.

It is incumbent upon the local press to continue to expose this sham for what it is, especially the local Spanish-language media, which has been slow to respond to Cortes' insulting candidacy. Only recently have some Spanish-language reporters begun to press the issue. They need to do more.

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40 comments
Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

Sad to see and hear Pearce tell bald face lies. He has been able to get away with this unethical if not fraudulent behavior for decades to an uninformed citizenry. Today, he can no longer hide but is exposed for the self-serving individual he is. Pearce as Senate President is a disgrace to Arizona. The deception must end. Those we are watching in the video saying Arizona is stronger than ever are not following the facts, as education, health care and families and communities are being decimated. The ignorance we are hearing and seeing is beyond belief. All those who truly care about Arizona's future need to get out and help the campaign to elect a real candidate -- Jerry Lewis and turn a new leaf. Who wants to bring a business, or move a family into a state that offers nothing to the people except put them at risk for great harm?

cannondax
cannondax

Great reporting. I have personally known Cortez and Lewis for 20 years. There is no way Cortez is up for this. She is one of the most timid, quiet people I have ever met. If there ever was such a thing as a shill candidate, she is it. I read in another NT article where she supposedly asked for questions in writing. There is no way that she was the person who responded. Someone has promised her something for doing this. Have to admit I am surprised and disappointed in her. Pearce knows it, Greg Western knows it and I know it. Interesting that Cortez and and Greg Western are in the same LDS Ward. Shame on both of you.

Guest23
Guest23

Has the az republic/azcentral even mentioned this issue?

Jason
Jason

Well well. Now we know the truth behind Cortes and her "run" in the recall election of that stupid, sick old man we're supposed to call a Senate president.

I have known all along that Cortes is nothing but a Pearce shill, running in this historic race to dilute the votes and help Pearce, a man who accepted $40,000 worth of tickets from the Fiesta Bowl, win.

What Cortes needs to do is drop out of the race. It's become apparent that she has absolutely no political knowledge. She hasn't even started campaigning yet, and here it is, mid-September. The recall election itself is scheduled for November 8. That means Cortes has about 45 days to explain to LD18 residents why she should go to the state Capitol.

Then again, Lewis needs to open and use the industrial-strength and size cans of whoop-ass on both Pearce and Cortes so that he can be sent to the Capitol.

Welcome Jerry Lewis as LD18 Senator 11/8/11... 

Mikey1969
Mikey1969

"Is there a law against that???"

Wow, nothing says, 'Yeah, we did that' better than that question, does it?

Gotta give Wayne Gardner credit, he wouldn't let the Pearce assholes dictate the meeting, they tried to shut the speaker down, and he basically reaffirmed the man's right to speak. At least someone in that district has some integrity.

Coz
Coz

Isn't rigging elections criminal ?

Tina
Tina

Here's "more of the same" on what corrupt Russell Pearce is all about.  (Somebody posted this relevant  link on the EV Tribune's coverage of that Pearce-with-the-tea-party meeing Thurs. night.)

http://www.eastvalleytribune.c...

Emtae
Emtae

Pearce is swine, has always been swine.  His supporters are filthy ethics-less swine.

Susurro Perforado
Susurro Perforado

"Jerry Lewis is a plant."  What a cynical lie.  Everybody knows that Russell knows about the fake candidate.  You don't have to know her personally to know that Greg Western and the rest of your team recruited her.  Western, who, by the way was seen at a small Pearce campaign meeting.  Russell Pearce is getting very ugly in his desperate clawing to hang on to power.  Good people--that's right, the Tea Party folks are mostly great people--are justifying all kinds of dishonestly in order to protect His Highness, Emperor Russell.

Vic
Vic

Yes, this needs more exposure in the Hispanic press. Cortes/Pearce has been outed,good job!  BUT, the bottom line is that Lewis needs to be voted in.  So far I havereceived three mailings from Pearce, none from Lewis.  I can guarantee you that many of myneighbors do not read New Times, unfortunately.  So Lewis needs to step it up, now.  Most ofmy neighbors say,"Lewis? Who?"  The word has not gotten out enough yet and his campaign needs to blitz and then blitz again!   In the end, none of this means anything if the votes do not go to Lewis.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Dennis, the closing banner says the recall is a 'bi-partisan' effort. Not true. Folks from all parties and us independents are behind the recall. There is actually very little partisan effort involved and absolutely none that I know of from the "No Fortitude Democratic Party of Arizona", lest they actually show some interest and perhaps hurt someone's feelings...

Gail in Mesa
Gail in Mesa

In addition to putting the large attack signs on Parraz back up, in my neighborhood Pearce's people have put up signs touting Pearce as 'Conservative Principled Leadership'.  The only true word of those three is 'Conservative'. 

Ari Asulin
Ari Asulin

Teaparty: win at all costs, regardless of the means.

Tina
Tina

cannondax, 

You provide much insight into the personality of Olivia Cortes, timid and quiet, and  that you've known her for 20 years.  You referenced her emailed replies to Stephen Lemons' questions just before he wrote his first blog a few weeks ago about the Cortes candidacy. 

 She then denied having any connection with the "Pearce camp." Your take on her emailed replies was that she did not write them, that they were written by someone else.  If you go back to that article, you can see that others felt the same thing, even though those commenters likely didn't know her as you do.

 After that she refused to return calls or answer any questions by the news media about her goals, her platform, her reasons for running, etc.,  after repeated attempts by both the Arizona Republic and New Times.   Until Aug. 25, that is.

  On Wed. Aug. 24, recall organizer Randy Parraz held a news conference alleging  that Cortes actually supported Pearce and is trying to dilute the anti-Pearce vote in the recall.   Republic reporter Gary Nelson contacted her and asked her if Parraz'  allegations were true. 

 Uncharacteristically, she actually sent an email to Nelson and responded as follows:"I have never met Mr. Parraz and he has never met me, but I would appreciate it if he would stop trying to muscle or scare me out of this race.  I live in LD 18 and believe I have something to offer the voters.  Mr. Parraz does not live in our district and he should  stop interfering with our elections."

Obviously she didn't answer the question, and didn't deny the allegation as she did with Lemons,  Since you've known her and her personality for so long, do you think that her email to the Republic reporter was composed by her?  Or do you suspect that this too was written by someone else? Would appreciate your take on this email to reporter Gary Nelson,  her last communication to the media.

Tina
Tina

CBS channel 5 news did cover this on their 10 p.m. news tonight (Monday) with a repeat of that broadcast again at 11:45 p,m. It was gratifying  that this despicable scheme with Cortes got the widespread exposure it deserves.   From Gillman's video, they explained the essence of "the big lie" with Cortes, showed Oldroyd reading her proposed resolution (wanting that LD 19 Republican group to adopt it), then showed Anson Clarkson (Lewis' campaign manager) at the mike saying, "It's not illegal. But I would question the ethics of someone that stands here and is for Russell Pearce -- I'm OK with people being for Russell Pearce -- but then attempting to game the political system...by trying to recruit a shill candidate."

The unscrupulous characters from LD 19, who worked at furthering the "big lie" to hoodwink the 68,000 voters in LD 18, deserve to be repeatedly exposed again and again with the aid of Gillman's video (which is already in the public domain.)  Not to forget also the deception of the Cortes signs -- "Si, se puede.  I will represent the people."

  

Guest
Guest

Brahm Resnik ganked Dennis' video w/out crediting either Dennis or Lemons. Or so I hear. haven't seen the segment yet.

Jason
Jason

Yes. They had an editorial asking if Pearce is FINALLY getting real (the answer to that is NO).

I really have to wonder if the Arizona Republic, which is my other source of information other than NT, is actually endorsing that sick old man....

Tina
Tina

Oh yes, because the Republic reporter was one of the reporters at the library who conversed with one of the petitioners, who openly told him that a signature to put Cortes on the ballot would be a vote for Pearce.  Hence, the sham that was acknowledged was also written up big by the Republic, and in subsequent articles the Republic has referenced again the "purpose" of the Cortes candidacy.

Stephen Lemons took it further and had the foresight to obtain copies of the Cortes petitions from the Sec'y of State's office, , do more research, and apparently learned that these LD 19 Republican party Pearce worshipers were actually going door-to-door with Cortes petitions. Hence, his presence at that LD 19 party meeting where further deceit was learned and unraveled.  That is some investigative work by Lemons.

Coz
Coz

Nope, from I can tell, the hacks over there might be actually endorsing Pearce...again.

Tina
Tina

Right after the incredible  explanations conveyed by peitioners at the library on Sept. 8,  not only to regular library patrons, but to THREE reporters, and that was made public, Jerry Lewis did put out a press release decrying the action, how we need to raise the bar of integrity, or something to that effect.   I agree, though, that should be emphasized by him.  

Tina
Tina

I too have to hand it to Wayne Gardner. I don't agree with him about any need to change or remove the recall provision in the Az Constitution, since successful recalls in this state are next to being unheard of, next to impossible for higher office holders. The recall of Pearce resonated with so many voters across the board, which is why it succeeded. 

Other than that opinion by Gardner, which was "politically correct" in view of the unscrupulous PC's in the room, he really demonstrated his integrity presiding over the meeting. 

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Coz, this Cortes move is one of those 'thin gray line' issues of law. Unethical, immoral perhaps, but not technically illegal. Assuming Olivia Cortes meets all the criteria to be eligible to run for state senate, she has every right to do so, if she gets and submits the required number of valid signatures for candidacy.

I don't know of anything in election law that addresses motive of the candidate, unfortunately.

Interestingly, there is potential for the Cortes shill to actually hurt the pearce vote. I think we will agree that most of the folks who might vote for pearce are not really knowledgeable regarding facts. That said, they likely will vote FOR Cortes INSTEAD of pearce, simply because someone said she is pearce's favorite candidate.

"Now, Martha, who's that girl the Tea Party said was best to vote for so we can help Rusty OUT?'.....

Tina
Tina

Russell Pearce learned a new word -- "plant" -- after it was repeatedly and appropriately  used by the news media and bloggers for weeks to refer to the allegations about Cortes:  that she was a "Pearce plant."

I too fully believe he knew everything that was going on with Cortes, and he thought it a great idea.  At that "tea party" meeting Thursday night, to take the spotlight off himself and the Cortes candidacy, he immediately tried to turn it around, and MISAPPLY the term by dishonestly referring to viable, genuine, real candidate Jerry Lewis as a Randy Parraz "plant."  

Pearce is a piece of work.  Worst state legislator Mesa has ever had.  

Tina
Tina

I agree that Lewis has GOT to be voted in.  Pearce has money to burn (at least one national white-supremacist organization, his B.A.N. concoction, "Patriots for Pearce" consisting of lobbyists, etc.) and he's still hitting up every source imaginable for more, more, more money.  At Thursday's "tea party" gathering, donation forms were also distributed to every row of attendees to fill out and donate to his campaign.  Our mailboxes will be full with Pearce propaganda, lies and distortions from now until election day.  He's got a lot of vested interests, lobbyists and their clients who have relied on the Pearce vote and "leadership" to do their bidding -- not for us, for themselves.  

So far I have received four mailings.  Three of them have been on 8 1/2 x 11 card stock, which have all the markings and style of being produced by Highground (Chuck Coughlin,  the power broker, lobbyist, advisor behind the curtain.)  (1) The anti-Randy Parraz piece, with photo endorsement of Republican state officeholders, (2) "Russell Pearce: Track Record of CREATING & PROTECTING JOBS", (3) "Join Governor Brewer in Supporting Russell Pearce and Arizona's Economic Comeback" which also says "Russell Pearce has a proven record of fighting for legislation to create jobs for the East Valley."

That last one arrived in my mailbox yesterday.  Then there was the 2-page August 26, 2011   "personal" mass-mailed letter -- Dear (first name of voter) and "signed" Sincerely, Senator Russell Pearce, Legislative District 18.   Besides priding himself in separate paragraphs entitled Education, Small Business, State Budget, Law Enforcement and Second Amendment Rights, he also misstates the constitutional provisions for recall (as the courts have demonstrated after his ridiculous frivolous lawsuit) and accuses his "opponents" of that which he has resorted to.Considering the Fiesta Bowl bribery, the Pearce/Cortes slime, the 300 defamatory and dishonest "Randy Parraz" signs, etc. he says, 

"My wife, LuAnn, and I fully anticipate that our opponents in this campaign will resort to negative campaigning.  They will try to distort my record and twist the facts to accomplish their agenda of removing me from office.  In turn, we fully intend to campaign on the issues, and on my remarkable record of legislative accomplishments.  But if my opponents resort to dirty campaign tactics, I will vigorously defend myself and my record."

"I have always kept every promise I have made to the citizens of Arizona."  (What were these "promises"?  I don't recall any promise about the private prison industry.)

"I have always been honest and forthright with my constituents....", etc. etc.  

Until Jerry Lewis can get a mailing out to voters, we have to spread the good word about him to those who haven't met him.  His name is easy to remember for the uninformed.

 

Dennis Gilman
Dennis Gilman

Tommy,Good point but I would've had a hard time using "tri-partisan" or "quad-partisan.'The word bipartisan is mostly used to show a lack of it these days.  Rarely is it used to represent an actual event.  What I've liked about the recall is it's brought people together that have differant political views. I think that has a great long term effect and it scares the hell out of Pearce and other extremists at our Capitol who want to pass birther bills and challenge the US Constitution while destroying our economy with more failed policies. 

Tina
Tina

I wouldn't call Pearce "conservative" at all in light of all that he alone has cost this state with his repeated efforts to tear up the U.S. Constitution.  I'd call him "radical."

Mistalee
Mistalee

More like try to win at all costs, regardless of the means, but totally screw it up.

Really, if Karl Rove had been managing Pearce's campaign, there would be way dirtier stuff and we'd never know about it. Pearce and his Tea Party pals are buffoons.

cannondax
cannondax

TIna, sorry, I've been out of town for a few days. Interesting,the fact that she does not answer the question posed by Gary Nelson. My take is that Olivia has found herself in a very uncomfortable position. There is no doubt in my mind that she knows right from wrong and the fact that she does not deny supporting Pearce or diluting the race says a lot. I think in the hours that she finds herself alone she is probably asking herself "what the heck am I doing"? I don't believe she responded herself to Gary Nelson. The wording does not sound like anything I have ever heard her say. The sentence composition, the   phrase........would appreciate it if he would stop trying to muscle or scare me out of this race simply did not come from her mouth, mind or computer. Someone else is writing this stuff. If she ever appears in a debate it will be quite evident.

Jason
Jason

Wouldn't surprise me at all...

Tina
Tina

Coz, here's the (first) write-up by the Republic on azcentral.  Often azcentral articles disappear quickly from their lists of articles.   Always click on azcentral's  "Mesa" when checking out the Pearce matter and anything to do with the recall.  

http://www.azcentral.com/commu...

Tina
Tina

Coz, in Lemons' first article reporting of his experiences with the petitioners at the library, he even credited the Republic's Gary Nelson for learning and writing about the same thing on Sept. 8 from Nelson's independent experience.   Lemons even provided a link to Gary Nelson's article that disclosed the same sham.   

Mistalee
Mistalee

Lewis is a candidate. Cortes is a plant. Pearce is a vegetable.

Richard
Richard

Sometimes when it's an effort where political party affiliation plays no role.. the matter is not Bi-Partisan.. but instead it's Non-Partisan.  Because this is the "People's Movement" and not any one or two parties .. parties plays no role in this "People's Movement"

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