KTAR radio yesterday covered an interview of candidate Jerry Lewis, one of the candidates in the LD 18 recall election. He was stating that he felt that Olivia Cortes was a “plant” in the election, and her candidacy was designed to divide the vote.
Oh, Mr. Lewis, and you are not a plant.
Those of us who know the history of this recall election know very well what is going on. Randy Parraz, well-known agitator, was the driving force behind setting up this recall election, and he set it up with the intent of engineering the candidate choice for maximum effect, to give the maximum chance of unseating Senator Pearce, the author of SB1070, a law that he detests. He wanted a candidate who was LDS, a Republican, but a moderate, thus drawing away as many votes from Senator Pearce as he could. He is trying to take advantage of the special scenario of this election, in which there are no regular party primaries, keeping any Democrats from the race, thus hopefully getting all of the Democrats and as many Republicans as possible to vote for Lewis.
So into this carefully engineered scenario, we have a fly in the ointment, Olivia Cortes, who has obtained the necessary signatures to appear on the ballot. Parraz supporters are crying foul, that she is present in the race merely to dilute the vote for Jerry Lewis. Oh, my, but my heart bleeds. Jerry Lewis is planted to dilute the vote for Pearce, and no one else was supposed to be in the race who might dilute the vote for Lewis.
The rage of some of the complainers is palpable. They are calling it a great scandal. But the closest they can come to pinning this on Senator Pearce is to call her a Tea Party plant. Well, I wouldn’t be suprised if placing her in the race turns out to be a brainstorm of someone in the Tea Party, but at the worst, it’s a crude attempt to do the same thing that Randy Parraz has done so slickly.
To really have integrity in a recall election like this, there should be no candidates on the ballot, only the question whether the public official named should be recalled. Then, if the vote is to recall, a bona fide election should be set up with primaries and the whole regular process. Problem is, if Randy Parraz did that, he would lose and Pearce would win, hands down. This idea of being able to “plant” candidates to muddy the recall process is really working in his favor.