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Pearce recall group demands accountability for Brewer, Arpaio

Citizens for a Better Arizona hope to guage support for governor's recall

PHOENIX — The group behind the recall of state Senate President Russell Pearce said Monday that Gov. Jan Brewer and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio should be held accountable for their “extremist” positions.

But leaders of Citizens for a Better Arizona said they aren’t seeking to recall either politician. Instead, they said they would gauge public support for a Brewer recall through feedback to their website and urged voters to organize against Arpaio if he runs for re-election next year.

“We want to see a different type of discourse, different type of civility in our politics,” said Randy Parraz, the group’s co-founder. “We’re here to send a message.”

Among other demands, the group called for Brewer to apologize for trying to remove the head of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.

Parraz said there is still the possibility of a recall movement against Brewer if enough voters express interest. The group’s website is accepting pledges from people willing to collect recall signatures.

Meanwhile, Parraz said Maricopa County residents should band together to form a “citizen’s posse” to keep Arpaio in check and, should he run again, vote him out of office.

“For us, you don’t need a gun and badge. You need a heart, determination and passion to really make things happen in this county,” he said.

The group collected signatures to put Pearce’s recall on the ballot and then raised campaign funds that helped elect Republican Jerry Lewis to replace him earlier this month.

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Matthew Benson, Brewer’s spokesman, called the group’s demand “a political sideshow” and said the governor won’t apologize.

“The governor stands behind her actions with regard to the redistricting commission,” he said.

In an interview, Arpaio said the group’s announcement won’t affect his actions or plans to seek re-election.

“Nothing changes,” Arpaio said at his office Monday afternoon. “If they think they’re going to intimidate me, it’s never going to happen.”

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Victoria Pelham/Cronkite News Service

Gail Shoultes holds a sign calling for the removal of Gov. Jan Brewer at a press conference for the Citizens for a Better Arizona in front of the state capitol. The Citizens for a Better Arizona successfully pushed for the recall of Russell Pearce in November.