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Five takes on why Russell Pearce went down in Arizona, and what it means

Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images News


One could probably fill a small library by now with the many analyses of Arizona senate president Russell Pearce's defeat Tuesday in a historic recall election, Arizona's first recall of a state legislator.

There are different takes on why Pearce, best known for sponsoring last year's game-changing SB 1070 state anti-illegal immigration law, was ousted from his seat. He was a strident and popular voice within the immigration-restriction lobby, promoting not only a law that empowered local police to check for immigration status (a provision of SB 1070 that remains blocked), but pushing legislation earlier this year that would have kept U.S.-born children of undocumented parents from obtaining automatic U.S. citizenship. And in spite of being partly hung up in court, SB 1070 has inspired a series of imitations, including similar new laws Alabama, South Carolina and Georgia.

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Is the Russell Pearce recall election a referendum on Arizona's immigration politics?

Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images News


Russell Pearce, the Republican Arizona state senate president whose SB 1070 anti-illegal immigration law continues to inspire similarly strict immigration laws in other states, could lose his seat to a recall Tuesday. He'll be running against a challenger, fellow Republican Jerry Lewis, in the state's first-ever recall election involving a state lawmaker.

And while Pearce's hardline stance on immigration isn't the sole basis of the effort to oust him, the outcome of tomorrow's election is being regarded by many as a popular vote on his controversial immigration politics - and on the public image of Arizona that SB 1070 and other proposed immigration crackdowns there since have helped create.

As the polls prepare to open, several news analyses have examined what the recall vote means in terms of Pearce's and Arizona's immigration policies and politics:

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