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Russell Pearce May Have to Fight to Keep Seat in Legislature

Phoenix, AZ – Maricopa County Elections Director Karen Osborne said her office has reviewed about 13,500 signatures on petitions calling for the recall of Russell Pearce. At this point she said more than 82-hundred have been determined to be valid, far more than the 77-hundred required to force Pearce into a special election. And Osborne still has close to another 3,000 signatures to review. Pearce told Arizona Public Radio he is not surprised.

(You know, when you pay people to get signatures and when they tell the kind of stories they're telling, people sign almost anything. And I understand that. And you've got to remember. They keep trying to make this out as if they're volunteers.)

Attorney Lisa Hauser who represents Pearce said even if Osborne's office concludes there are enough valid signatures, that does not automatically mean an election. Hauser said county officials are looking only at those who signed the petition.

(We're taking a look at the circulators to see if we see any problems there. And there are a variety of other things to look at as well. We want to make sure that we think the county and the secretary of state have removed everything that we think they were legally required to remove.)

Pearce said he's not afraid of being forced to defend his seat in a special election, saying he's an old hand at winning races.

(I've faced them 16 times. They've elected me 16 times, counting primaries. I trust the voters of Mesa. I know the voters of Mesa. I'm born and raised there. They know me. They know who I am.)

The election would be either in November or next March, with the date depending in part on how quickly Osborne's staff finishes its work. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.