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'This issue has now become bigger than me': Russell Pearce writes about his defeat and the legacy of SB 1070

In a first-person essay that appeared today on Politico, the recalled architect of Arizona's SB 1070, state Sen. Russell Pearce, provides his take on the recall election last Tuesday that cost him his legislative seat. He defends his record, saying that his defeat by political newcomer Jerry Lewis, who favors a more lenient stance on immigration, "had nothing to do with my positions on illegal immigration. In fact, my opponent barely discussed the issue."

One thing that Pearce does claim is responsibility for the legacy of SB 1070. He lays out in the essay how the stringent anti-illegal immigration law he sponsored - parts of which remain blocked by court order - was a political game changer in the immigration debate, prompting legislators in other states to follow suit and changing the tone of the national discussion. It something that few can argue with. Pearce writes:

This issue has now become bigger than me " and bigger than Arizona.

We have inspired other states to take action. More than 34 states are now proposing legislation modeled on SB1070. Alabama, South Carolina, Utah and Georgia have already passed bills.

Before I introduced SB 1070, Arizona political luminaries like Sen. John McCain and Rep. Jeff Flake were leading sponsors of amnesty for illegal immigrants. But since we passed it, most of our GOP congressman and senators at least give lip service to supporting patriotic immigration enforcement.

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