MESA, AZ - After days of searching and staking out her home, Olivia Cortes spoke with ABC15 Wednesday.
Cortes is one of three candidates in the November recall election, which could cost State Senate President Russell Pearce his seat.
Nobody had heard from her until Wednesday night, when she spoke exclusively with ABC15.
ABC15’s Stephanie Hockridge asked if there is any truth to the allegations claiming Cortes is only running to help Pearce win a re-election.
"No one is forcing me or paying my campaign. Definitely, I'm not a 'sham candidate'," Cortes said.
The lawsuit filed late Friday in Maricopa County Superior Court seeks to keep Cortes off the ballot.
Cortes is scheduled to appear at a Thursday hearing challenging her candidacy.
The suit alleges Cortes is a sham candidate whose candidacy was orchestrated by Pearce supporters to dilute the vote against him.
When asked why she hasn't made any appearances, Cortes said she has been "secluded".
"It just bothers [me that] some people are knocking constantly on your door, being a single woman and being [taped] and that's not proper," she said.
And regarding the controversy about her possibly being a "sham", Cortes says she hasn't even met Pearce before.
"I think actually Jerry Lewis is trying to take votes away from me because I filed a day before he did," she said.
“We didn’t think it would be so much,” said Greg Western, who calls himself a campaign advisor. He says the two of them met at a Mormon church about a year ago.
Western said they hoped the accusations that Cortes is a sham candidate would die off, but that didn’t happen and even became more intense when she went into hiding and because this is such a high profile election.
They also say she has an amazing personal story that she will tell everyone at a news conference set for Monday.
She also agreed to be part of a candidate forum with all candidates next week.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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