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Disgraced Arizona Politician Disgraced Once Again

Poor Russell Pearce. He just can’t keep a job.

Pearce, the former far-right lawmaker who helped push Arizona’s draconian anti-immigrant law a few years ago, resigned this fall as a top official in the state’s Republican Party after making remarks about sterilizing poor women.

He resigned, with mid-term elections just weeks away, as the state GOP’s first vice president after being roundly criticized, including by fellow Arizona Republicans, for saying on his radio show that if he were put in “charge of Medicaid, the first thing I’d do is get Norplant, birth-control implants, or tubal ligations.”

“Then we’ll test recipients for drugs and alcohol,” he continued, “and if you want to [reproduce] or use drugs or alcohol, then get a job.”

Russell Pearce
Russell Pearce

The Arizona Republic called Pearce “the reckless cowboy” and quoted an angry tweet from Michele Reagan, GOP candidate for secretary of state.

“The obnoxious comments made by Russell Pearce were both disgusting and offensive,” Reagan wrote. “Let it be known, he is NOT the voice of my GOP. #Resign!”

In a statement released by the Arizona GOP, Pearce, according to Politico, blamed the media and “the progressive left” for the controversy and said he was resigning to protect “Republican candidates.”

Pearce said that during a discussion on his radio show about the alleged abuses of the state’s public assistance system, he “shared comments written by someone else and failed to attribute them to the author.”

“I do not want the progressive left and the media to try and take a misstatement from my show and use it to attack our candidates,” Pearce said. “I care about the Republican Party and its conservative platform too much to let them do that.”

This isn’t the first time Pearce has been forced out of a job in politics.

In 2011, when he was the president of the Arizona state Senate, he became the first state senator in Arizona’s history to be recalled and then ousted in a special election.

He got the boot largely because of his harsh and controversial so-called “papers, please” anti-immigration legislation, but “an ethics issue and under-handed campaign tactics also played a role,” The Washington Post reported at the time.

Eight years ago, according to the Republic, Pearce proposed “a deranged idea to bring back the Eisenhower-era program ‘Operation W------’ to deport all undocumented migrants.”

“Operation W------,” the paper said recently, “should have been Russell Pearce’s last rodeo. He lived on to bring us Operation Sterilization.”