Russell Pearce Nabs First Vice Chair, Ron Paul Dominates Straw Poll at State GOP Meeting

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Pearce, now 1st Vice Chair of the AZ GOP

Ex-state Senate President Russell Pearce began slithering back into relevancy this Saturday during the Arizona GOP's winter meeting, held at Phoenix's Church for the Nations, where he was elected to the party's First Vice Chair position.

Despite an embarrassing 12-point loss to fellow Republican Jerry Lewis in November's recall election, Pearce remains popular with many state tuskers. His bid was endorsed by Arizona GOP Chair Tom Morrissey and various Republican office-holders

Though Pearce was running against a respected incumbent, Diane Ortiz-Parsons, when Morrissey announced the results at day's end, Pearce had crushed her, 669 to 443.

(The SeeingRedAz blog has a slightly different vote count, 668 to 441. The numbers I'm quoting above are what I heard Morrissey read to the assembled.)

One other stark result from Saturday's meeting: Congressman Ron Paul's name drew massive support in a presidential straw poll that served as a fundraiser for the party. 

Paul scored 256 votes to 20 for Newt Gingrich, 17 for Mitt Romney and 8 for sweater-boy Rick Santorum.

Young, intelligent and enthusiastic, the Paul supporters were a welcome, non-conformist presence. 

Otherwise, the day was dominated by Pearce's triumph over Ortiz-Parsons, and the sickening shadow of nativism, which darkens every aspect of the GOP in Arizona.

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