Russell Pearce-Foe Jerry Lewis Swings and Connects During Thursday's Debate

Eye of the tiger, indeed...

State Senate hopeful Jerry Lewis, the man seeking to topple the most powerful politician in Arizona, landed several verbal blows both during and after his debate in Mesa Thursday with state Senate President Russell Pearce, as you can see in this latest video from my colleague Dennis Gilman.

Though Pearce and Lewis are on the same page (at least in word if not in deed) when it comes to Republican tenets such as small government, less regulation, and privatization, Lewis established himself as a genuine alternative to Pearce, challenging him on issues related to integrity, Arizona's image and immigration.

"Please do not mistake my kindness and civil tone with weakness," Lewis stated in his closing remarks. "I know when and how to be bold and how to stand up for conservative principles."

He acknowledged that some people have told him they would rather he wait a year and challenge Pearce in a GOP primary, rather than in the recall forced upon Pearce. But Lewis had a great comeback, one he repeated as a kind of mantra.

"My response to them and my solemn declaration to you is that our students cannot wait another year for schools to improve, we need educational leadership now," he said, with emphasis.

"Our economy cannot wait another year to be fixed," he continued. "Mesa needs 30 years of private sector experience now."

That 30 years of private sector experience belongs to Lewis, of course, who, unlike his opponent, has not spent his entire life working for the government in one form or another. 

He kept reminding the audience that he was not "a professional politician," and as such, will not take a government pension, and will not accept gifts from lobbyists, like one Senate President we all know.

Indeed, when challenged after the debate for specifics on the first piece of legislation he would propose if elected, Lewis said he would offer legislation to end the gravy train Pearce took advantage of with his free trips and football tickets, paid for by the Fiesta Bowl to the tune of $40,000.

Asked for details on how Arizona can grow itself out of its recession, Lewis took a direct swipe at Pearce's anti-immigrant measures, though this brought a chorus of boos from Pearce partisans in the room.

"First off, we have to change the image that we have in Mesa and in Arizona," he replied. "We are seen as a very unfriendly business state. We are seen as something akin to maybe 1964 Alabama. Business owners do not want to move their businesses here in the current environment. We're having a hard time getting our great message out about this great state that we are."

Right-wing blogs have twisted this to claim that Lewis accused Arizona of being racist. On the contrary, he pointed out the obvious: Arizona is perceived as being a racist state nationally and internationally, particularly in the wake of Pearce's Senate Bill 1070. Anyone who does not acknowledge this simple fact is in serious denial.

Pearce responded with a bit of a canard, claiming that, "Our tourism is up 10 percent over last year," and that everywhere Governor Jan Brewer goes, she's warmly applauded. 

How warmly Brewer's applauded likely depends on whom she's talking to, and as to that 10 percent figure, it's hardly precise. 

According to numbers released in July by the Arizona Office of Tourism, from 2009 to 2010, there was a 4.5 percent increase in total visitation to the state. And there was a 7.9 percent increase in direct travel spending due to these visitors in 2010 over the previous year.

Despite that, direct travel spending is still down 7.3 percent from 2007. In the AOT's press release for the 2010 numbers, it characterized the industry as "cautiously optimistic," though apparently not as optimistic as Pearce.

A study done by the Scottsdale consulting firm Elliott D. Pollack and Co. estimated an ultimate $141 million loss in revenue over the anti-SB 1070 boycott. But even if you dismiss that estimate, none other than AOT executive director Sherry Henry admitted the impact of the boycott on the state in a February interview with Arizona Public Media.

"There's no question that the boycott issue became a huge event," said Henry. "And as a result of that we know there were groups...that actually did cancel. And they said it was a result of the boycott."

Lewis touted the now-famous letter from the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce opposing new Pearce-sponsored immigration legislation in 2011as further evidence that bigotry is bad for business.

"Sixty CEOs from Arizona's top businesses sent a letter to the Arizona Legislature this past March," he said, holding aloft a copy. "Asking them, please, stop regulating this idea of immigration without a real reform in mind."

He added later, "We need to listen to business leaders. And we need to act on what they're saying when it's in our best interest."

Pearce's blather on this point was, well, the usual stuff, "enforce our laws," "enough is enough," and so on. He even quoted the usual bogus stats from the nativist, xenophobic Federation for American Immigration Reform. 

As for the harm his single-issue focus on immigration has inflicted on this state, he contended, "Arizona suffers from a great reputation." True, only if you subtract the last four words from that sentence.

On the subject of students here illegally being denied in-state tuition, Lewis agreed with Pearce that state law is clear on the matter. Nevertheless, he made a bid for compassion, one heckled by the pro-Pearce folks.

"We need to look at this issue, along with countless other issues in the immigration arena to come up with immigration reform that will really work," he stated. "[You need to] consider national security, securing our border, the rule of law, the effect on the economy of piecemeal legislation, as opposed to legislation that looks at all of the issues, including, what does it do to the separation of families.

"We need to consider the education, healthcare, all of the other issues as well. We need to make sure we address this issue in a humane way that we can all be proud of and that we can all live with."

This also happens to be the position of the Mormon church, which in a June statement noted, without mentioning SB 1070 directly, that,

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is concerned that any state legislation that only contains enforcement provisions is likely to fall short of the high moral standard of treating each other as children of God."

Though the church's immigration stance did not come up during the debate, Lewis did address it in answers to reporters' questions following the forum, as you can see in Gilman's video. 

Lewis and Pearce are both Mormons, and Legislative District 18 is heavily Mormon. Lewis was too much of a gentleman to go there, though which man's position on immigration most closely adheres to current LDS doctrine should be as plain as the slab of oak on Pearce's shoulder.


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68 comments
Paris8997
Paris8997

You can tell Lewis has the mormons on his side.  I don't know about anyone else but I grew up here and I am tired of being dictated to by the mormons.  They settled Lehi and took over Mesa.  They have been bringing in illegals since I was a kid for cheep labor, putting them in drop houses, one was across from my house so I saw it first hand and then they would take their money to pay for their housing the mormons made out like bandits.

Bobby
Bobby

Lewis got his butt kicked by Pearce in the debate.

Just the numebrs
Just the numebrs

>>  Pearce responded with a bit of a canard, claiming that, "Our tourism is up 10 percent over last year.

I never trust any of the numbers RP makes up. They're usually not grounded in fact. Tourism was so bad this was the first year the All Star Game didn't sell out like it has in countless prior years. Great job RP and JB.

Ari Asulin
Ari Asulin

Pierce shills in here,

What can I say. Your teabagging fear rhetoric jumped the shark long ago. 

It is just so insipid and LAME now. 

Please put more effort into it. Not even entertaining anymore

The few democrats around recognize there have long been good-spirited republicans running this state to the benefit of the poor and needy. We recognize the classic humanitarian virtues of the gop in Lewis, while Pierce represents what the GOP has become: essentially selfish, mean-spirited, and dangerous.

Your fear narrative is diminishing. Dems are being Lewis. 

Don Garney
Don Garney

Russell Pearce is a bully and uses his power for his ego...

Hock
Hock

It would be SO good for Arizona if Pearce loses...I just don't have faith in the Mesa voters...they have a long history of being stupid.

Jason
Jason

It's blantantly obvious.

Pearce is, simply put, too mentally sick, corrupt and sleazy to actually stand a chance against Lewis.

Lewis KO's Pearce every time. Even during the debate Thursday, Lewis was landing solid blows and knocking Pearce down.

Now, we need to keep Pearce down for the count. Vote Lewis on November 8.  

PDALewis
PDALewis

lets see. PDA and Unions placed Lewis on the Ballot. Lewis illegally fired a person at his school. Lewis socked investors for millions in his 'multi tiered marketing scheme' then Lewis, PDA and unions orchestrates the lawsuit against olvia to get her kicked off the ballot

and the ironic thing is, the democrat redistricting commission has wiped LD18 district off the map for 2012

LOL

Oblivious Cortex
Oblivious Cortex

And, has anyone figured out why Lewis got three bottles of water while Pearce didn't get any?

Oblivious Cortex
Oblivious Cortex

Lewis showed he could be as vague and evasive as Pearce while reciting platitudes.  There was very little substance in this joint press conference, which was not helped by the stilted and stifled format designed by its right-wing Mesa sponsors.

I miss the days of Ronald Reagan, who wanted to abolish the federal Department of Education and turn control of schools back to local school boards.  Lewis and Pearce both want state legislation to overrule local management.  Lewis may actually have some experience with what might work for some schools in some places, but don't ask the AEA how it feels about charter schools replacing traditional public schools.  And don't expect 29 other senators to know much about the education system.

Lewis could have suggested that we pay for education with savings from incarceration, but you don't get elected in Arizona by endorsing release of marijuana users.  Instead, he drinks the Republican Kool-Aid about "growing" out of a national Depression with local tax and spending cuts.  Herbert Hoover couldn't have said it any better.  Unfortunately, President Obama these days is saying "me too" to the Republicans.

Finally, someone calls out Pearce on his lie about tourism statistics.  The story should have mentioned where Pearce got his 10% figure, though.  Tax collections from the 5% increase in tourists are up 10%, because the state raised its sales tax to make it one of the highest in the country.

Coz
Coz

Great job Dennis, you are amazing talented...

Coz
Coz

Lewis out classes Pearce in every way possible.

Pearce in nothing more than a lying corrupt theft.

wasillawitch
wasillawitch

Pearce is corrupt...he changed MVD records and got fired for it.  He accepted $40,000 in illegal freebees from the Fiesta Bowl.  And then there's his good buddy lobbyist, Chuck "CCA" Coughlin, and the private prison industry.

Pearce is unethical and deceitful as demonstrated by his Cortez sham plan...he is working to undermine the integrity of an election and dilute the value of his constituents' votes.

Pearce has been the major player in our legislature since 2000.  He's been responsible for for our budget and economy for the past 10+ years.  Both our budget and economy are in the toilet now.  He's also headed unprecedented cuts to our education system, while budgeting INCREASES for the prison industry.  According to a recent Counsel of State Justice Center report "Arizona’s spending on corrections has increased by 100 percent, from $409 million in FY1997 to $817 million in FY2007.  By Y2005, corrections spending accounted for 10 percent of state general fund expenditures, one of the highest proportions in the nation."

It's time to say NO MORE to Pearce's mentality, personal agendas, and policies...he's ruining our Arizona!

Conservative American
Conservative American

Pearce and his corrupt group of swine are smelling like fear.

Even if Pearce wins, his nuts have been clipped, the other legislators that he has threatened in the past are not afraid of him any more.

Pearce is a low level thug, a corrupt little tick that needs to be removed from office.

Jason
Jason

You must enjoy hearing yourself talk, huh?

Nobody else here is listening to you and your drunken, incoherent babble. The Pearce Kool-Aid must have some really good booze in it.

Bobby
Bobby

That is absolutely correct, but the leftist/ethnic bigots on this post don't really give a damn. The same goes on in Texas, under Perry. You can't hire and exploit these people and at the same time cry about all the state services they use, because you underpay them. That is why illegal immigration sucks, but as I said, the clowns on this post care more about foreign nationals here illegally, then they do about their families friends, and fellow citizens.

Jason
Jason

Really? LOL.

Pearce was sweating like the pig that he is, and he was nervous like a mofo.

Pearce will lose. Plain and simple. And I have fresh beer and Captain Morgan for the Lewis victory party. And I will be doing a little dance when Lewis wins and Pearce is out on his sorry ass. 

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

Ok Bobby, let's all play in your fantasy world for a minute and say yes, Ru-SELL Pearce beat Mr. Lewis in the debate, that still does not excuse the unconvicted felon, wife beater, corrupt, racist, treasonous, and now recall cheater called Rus-SELL Pearce from everything he has done against the people of Arizona, the Voters of Mesa, the United States Constitution, and humanity in general, so he is still going to be out of a job on Nov. 8th.  Hey but as a consolation price prize look at it on the bright side, he will be the first siting legislator in Arizona to be recalled and the first Senate President to be recalled in the history of the United States, now that will ensure his name is forever remembered in the history books.

Guest
Guest

Keep tellin urself that. & when P-boy loses, u can try sayin the same

Bobby
Bobby

It is up and is well documented by the office of Tourism. You and the other leftists on this forum  just can't take it. Oh, well, neither can Raul , let's economically nuke Arizona, Grijalva, so your'e in good company.

Jason
Jason

Sounds eerily familiar to the MCSO shurf.

"Russell Pearce is a bully and uses his power for his ego..."

Seedy Ward
Seedy Ward

Never underestimate the power of evil and corruption.

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

You are so desperate, your lies dont even make sense, do you honestly think the people on this website are dumb enough to buy your bullshit? if you do, you are dumber than GED Jan.

Susurro Perforado
Susurro Perforado

You're an idiot.  Mesa Republicans put Lewis on the ballot.

And Lewis didn't illegally fire anyone.  The statement from Lewis's boss, Ron Neil, says that he alone made the decision to fire the woman, and there was nothing illegal about it.  That she is suing and whining and making a racket (and will ultimately lose her case) is probably proof that they made the right decision to get rid of her!!

Jason
Jason

You are an idiot. Go babble somewhere else. The city of Mesa needs a leader like Lewis, not a mentally sick, corrupt, career politician like Pearce.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Mr. Lewis is an athlete and we athletes know how important hydrating is. I would imagine he probably bought the water himself.

Mr. pearce, well he doesn't strike me as being athletic, really. Unless one considers physical contact upon spouses as being athletic. Or lift a fork loaded with copious amounts of food hundreds of times daily. Or maybe, the weight of that very heavy bluetooth device attached to one's head...

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

Whomever set the water figured pearce would not be able to drink the water anyway with a mouthfull of cock, you dont believe me? just listen to pearce mumbling, err, I mean talk for 10 seconds and you'll know what I mean.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

I think Mr. Lewis has good ideas about the salient issues of legislative office, such as education, budgeting, taxation, prisons, immigration, etc, but he doesn't yet have the political experience and confidence in himself to look into the camera and say, "I personally believe....". In my opinion he has demonstrated a skill set that is absent with pearce. Mr. Lewis shows honesty, integrity, ethics and most importantly, willingness to listen.

With pearce the concept of listening is only to prepare a mush spewed defense of nonsense.

Mr. Lewis is sorely needed to affect positive change for LD-18 and Arizona.

Susurro Perforado
Susurro Perforado

Though you're right that it wasn't clear from the video or his debate comments, Lewis is against the state's micromanagement of local schools.  For that matter, he is against their attempts to micromanage cities too.  Ironic, because Pearce complains about the federal government trying to impose itself on states....then he turns around and does the same thing on the state level by dictating to cities.  The abuse cycle?

Follower_of_the_ONE
Follower_of_the_ONE

let's not forget the disembowelment of on Candy-Ass Thomas.... they are falling like dominoes!  After the Governor has been forced to set recalls where appropriate... IMPEACH her sorry ass.

Jason
Jason

"Pearce is nothing more than a lying, corrupt thief."

Just like his good buddy the Flaccid Fool of MCSO.

Susurro Perforado
Susurro Perforado

Maybe you don't give enough credit to Pearce's foresight.  He is just thinking ahead:  If you cut education enough, you WILL eventually need more prison space, right?  Educate or incarcerate...hmm....

Hock
Hock

Unfortunately, if Pearce wins, he will seek political vengeance on very person who opposed him, even slightly.  He will find people to run against them, he will impede them, and he will besmirch their reputations.  You think he’s evil now?  Wait until after the election should he win.

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

I would vote for a Mormon in a heart beat if it means getting rid of Rus-SELL Pearce, shit at this point a would vote for Charles Manson just to get rid of this TREASONOUS asshole, at least Manson hasn't given any anti-United States speeches and he doesn't have a following of dumb asses drinking his Kool-Aid and ready to start another Civil War because their "hero" doesn't like the US Constitution as is written.

Guest
Guest

Not by 10 percent it ain't. And only over the previous year. 

If u think AZ's economy's doin fine, ur drikin shine by the gallon jug.

Bobby
Bobby

Let's just say , they're dumb ENOUGH and leave it at that.

Bnbk
Bnbk

Dumber than GED Jan ? That's damm near impossible !

Oblivious Cortex
Oblivious Cortex

Russell Pearce, again, his forte is not public speaking, again, it's not even public mumbling, again, it's coming up with anecdotes and asides that, again, he can't remember when the last time was he used them, so again, he usually prefaces them with "again" whether the current audience has heard them or not.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Susurro, you make a good analogy. The abuse cycle always repeats until one day the little woman gets the message that she will get beat up for disobeying her master, then it may stop, perhaps not. One might say that a woman who has filed for divorce from an abuser got her butt kicked and has 'stayed in line' now for many years, apparently having forgiven and forgotten.

Take Mrs. Brewer, for example. She sued the federal government for doing it's job by suing her for the lame law SB-1070 and then she turned back around and asked the federal authorities to step in and help her fight against the voter mandated approval of medical marijuana. She seems to speak from both corners of her mouth...

Coz
Coz

Arizona's motto is why educate when you can prisoncate....

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

True to a point, Rus-SELL Pearce has used Candy Andy and the Joke ArPayaso as his weapon against political enemies in the past, both of which have now been neutered, so pearce's power is now severely diminished, they only ally he has left is tom horne, and about the only thing this corrupt clown can do for pearce is whitewash pearce's illegal activities, I doubt horne is as dumb as candy Andy and go down the same path.

Jason
Jason

At this point, I'd vote my dog in as LD18 senator.

Pearce is simply too mentally sick, presumably of the Kool-Aid, to actually defeat Lewis. Lewis was knocking Pearce down at each and every turn.

Now, let's keep Pearce down for the count... 

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

Geniuses by comparison of the Eisteins that tried to scam the voters and well, to say they miserably failed is an understatement.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Not "we", White Man. (Borrowed from a Lone Ranger and Tonto joke - not intended as being racist)

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

Governor Jan "Drunk Puppet" Brewer may be the dumbest idiot to ever hold office in the story of humanity, but I think she is actually 2 or 3 IQ points higher than the idiots the voted for her, hell she told them the budged was balanced, and all about the phantom headless bodies in the desert and the idiots bought it hook, line, and sinker, so much so they lined up to vote for her tripping over each other to do it.

Jason
Jason

Not really. The voters of this state have repeatedly shown their stupidity.

I mean, look at who we elect to run the state...

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

Booby, you need to get off whatever you are taking, its killing the few brain cells you have left, pearce sang the same song he always sings and had no answers for Mr. Lewis proposals other than wait for the tea baggers to start booing, Rus-SELL is not a public speaker and is a much worse debater.

Bobby
Bobby

Not public speaking? He kicked Lewis's butt in the debate. Lewis looked like a clown.

Socialjustice
Socialjustice

I'm not sure Horne know HOW TO ACT ethically on most issues.  He is seduced by the power of office and has his eye on the Governor's seat.  (Don't think about that to hard or you'll really get grossed out.)  I'm sure the DOJ has files on all these corrupt thugs. They are addict to any spot light and in the national news all the time looking like arrogant white supremacist.  That alone has done this State more damage than the economy collapsing.  This whole group needs to be tarred, feathered and run out on rails .  That includes Huppenthal too.

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

" I still don't like or trust Horne to act ethically regarding Pearce "

Likewise, I dont trust this clown and he already has acted unethically, so in my book he is next in line following the so called Sheriff Joke ArPayaso.

Jason
Jason

Agreed. I think Horne has a brain hemisphere and some brain cells to rub together, unlike a certain former county attorney currently facing disbarment and an abuse of power investigation by the DOJ.

Either way, I still don't like or trust Horne to act ethically regarding Pearce.

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

True Jason, but what I meant was to start charging people with bogus charges and try to discredit them, I know horne is a pearce stooge but I doubt he will blindly follow him like candy andy did, horne will play defense for pearce and whitewash his shenanigans but I doubt he will go commando and be pearce's point man in an offense, he is too much much of a coward, just like andy, but unlike andy, this one can think a little bit and has a plan, he is trying to buy time, he doesn't want to upset pearce just in case, right now horne is waiting to see what happens with the recall because he is afraid to act, he wants to help pearce too but cant do it too obvious in case he looses, although his failure to act and investigate the sham candidate is obvious enough for all of us.

Jason
Jason

"I doubt Horne is as dumb as Candy Andy and go down the same path."

Horne's already gone down the same path. Horne cries conflict of interest at each case his office is asked to take, including investigating the Pearce/Cortes sham campaign. This is because Horne supports Pearce.

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