Joe Arpaio Recall: A Chance to Prove the Pundits Wrong
Wanna see Joe go bye-bye for good? Then this April 4 event is mandatory for you . . .
What was the most fun for me as a columnist during the recall of ex-state Senate President Russell Pearce -- other than watching Pearce crash and burn?
That nearly all the pundits in Arizona ended up being as wrong as white shoes after Labor Day.
Remember, Pearce was at the zenith of his power in early 2011, a righter-than-right-wing wanna-be John Wayne, in his stomping grounds, the deeply conservative Legislative District 18.
He had just been re-elected by a healthy margin, and had ascended to the state Senate presidency following his legislative triumph the year prior with Senate Bill 1070.
Other politicians feared him. And he was wildly popular with the rabid Republican base in this state.
Which is why almost everyone in the local press corps thought the effort to oust him from office was "doomed," to borrow a word used by the Arizona Republic's Laurie Roberts this week to describe the current recall effort against Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Roberts' assessment followed an announcement by Respect Arizona, the Arpaio recall group, that it no longer had the funds to pay professional petition circulators as much as $2 or more per signature.
Just two weeks ago, Respect Arizona was riding high, with news that it had 120,000 valid signatures from qualified electors, signatures verified through county election rolls.
RA suspended the paid campaign on Sunday, March 17. Lilia Alvarez, RA's campaign manager, declined to give me the final count of valid signatures on the 17th, stating that RA was holding that information close to the vest.
But check this: If RA collected valid signatures at the same rate from March 6, when the 120,000-mark was announced 'til March 17, then by my calculation, the organization would have picked up close to 37,714 additional signatures in those 11 days.
Which would mean that RA may have around 157,714 valid signatures in the bank.
If RA were able to maintain the same pace, scoring 3,428.57 signatures (on average) per day, in the 74 days from March 18 to May 30, they would end up with around 411,428 valid sigs, exceeding the 335,317 needed to recall Joe.
By this math, the recall is still possible, though obviously it's a longer shot without the paid circulators.
(Note: Keep in mind, I'm not including the chaff, the majority of those signatures that would be tossed. For example, on March 6, there were, according to RA, 150,000 signatures, 120,000 of them verified.)
RA has enough money to maintain its operational costs, but it needs more -- a lot more.
Thing is, if a few big-money Dems (or Republicans) were to start writing checks, RA could, hypothetically, restart the paid drive.