Russell Pearce and Cohorts Plead for Amnesty, LD 25 RiNOs Give It To Them
Many objected, pointing out that this reversed the vote that had just taken place. PC Tyler Montague, a member of the non-Pearce-worshipping camp, cried "point of order," arguing that the motion was illegal under the vote that had just transpired.
But the vote moved ahead nonetheless, with the most persuasive argument for the motion being, "Let's vote `yes,' then we can go home."
One of those promoting this point of view was Libertarian-leaning-Republican PC Andrea Garcia, who ran against Pearce as a Libertarian candidate for the state Senate in 2010. At one point, she waved a makeshift sign that read, "DROP THE ROPE."
The anti-Pearce forces had the votes to hold out, but by that time it was well after 9 p.m., and the "let's go home" argument was particularly persuasive.
Also, there was a feeling that it was better to make peace than continue the war. Some in the anti-Pearce faction even crossed sides, including state Senator-elect Bob Worsley, bringing the meetings main business to a conclusion.
"I think everyone must have just seen Les Mis," attorney Ellsworth wrote me afterward, "as those who normally have called for strict enforcement of other laws voted to grant amnesty and mercy to those who had not complied with the bylaws."
Pearce's declaration for Graham earlier in the day seemed to downplay the necessity of keeping him off the state committee. And even if the second vote had gone the other way, he might have gotten on the ballot as a write-in candidate, or through some other backdoor maneuver.
Moreover, an estimated two-thirds of the state committee persons elected on November 29 were from the non-Pearce camp. The RiNOs had already won, and could afford to be magnanimous in victory.
Essentially, the importance of the LD 25 vote comes down to two significant points.
The first was made by Ellsworth in his communication with me:
This was also a total rejection of the unwarranted intervention of Chairman Rob Haney in our district affairs. When his allegations of fraud could not be proven during his investigation, he sought to throw out both the officer elections and the state committeemen election because of "irregularities."
Haney backed down within hours of being served with the lawsuit filed in federal court by most of the members of the newly elected board he was seeking to disqualify. Haney agreed to recognize the new board as the validly elected board and he agreed to accept the results of our meeting last night regarding the district's selection of state committeemen, whatever that may be. The district voted to ratify the November 29 state committeemen election -- the exact same election Haney sought to throw out.
I agree, though there is another, even more profound significance: The moderates are firmly in control of LD 25, even more so than they were in the old LD 18, at least as far back as 2010, when Pearce lost a similar bid to be on the GOP state committee until Haney successfully forced a revote.
Indeed, following Russell Pearce's 2011 recall loss, his defeat this year in the GOP primary, his brother Lester's utter annihilation in the district 2 GOP primary for county supervisor, and Lester's censure by Arizona's Commission on Judicial Conduct, the moderate Rs have cemented their grip on power in the East Valley.
The Pearces and their followers are on the outs in LD 25, one of the most active and conservative GOP districts in Sand Land. Haney is exiting stage right as county party chair. And the moderate Rs no longer fear retribution from the wingnuts.
All positive developments, a step toward the center in our redder than red state.