Russell Pearce lashes out at recall election

MESA, AZ - As the recall election for Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce heats up, the Mesa Republican is firing back, angry over the process.

"Yeah I'm concerned," Pearce told ABC15 Tuesday. "Recalls are a dangerous thing because there's no primary, you don't have to get the nomination from your party and you get to come through the back door."

Mesa resident Jerry Lewis vying for Pearce's seat disagrees with Pearce, calling the recall a lawful move made by voters.

"The constitution is not a back door approach, it's lawful and the constitution guarantees it," Lewis told ABC15.

The other candidate fighting for Pearce's seat comes with some controversy.

Olivia Cortes is on the ballot, but some have expressed concern that her candidacy is a fraud.

When Pearce was asked about the potential that a candidate may be a fraud, Pearce quickly responded, "Are you talking about Jerry Lewis?" Pearce continued, "He (Lewis) was put in by a left wing community organizer, that's about as fraud as you get in my opinion."

Lewis laughed off Pearce's comment.

"I'm not a fraud and that's one of the things I'm running for, to try and end some of this name calling," said Lewis.

Some believe Cortes is on the ballot to split the vote with Lewis, therefore, giving Pearce the win.

"At least Olivia is from inside our district so people need to get the spin right," said Pearce.

Lewis responded saying, "Maybe there is some ulterior motive here, but she (Cortes) would have to answer that question herself," said Lewis.

Over the past few days, ABC15 has tried to find Cortes for comment on the situation but attempts to reach her have been unsuccessful.

"Well her name will be on the ballot apparently so that makes her a real candidate," said Lewis.

Check back with ABC15.com for more updates on this story as the November recall election nears.

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