Pearce, Latino Republican group members tied to sham candidate Olivia Cortes
Last year, Jose Borrajeros, a spokesman for the Arizona Latino Republican Association, recorded a robo call implying Mesa residents could vote for a woman accused of being a sham candidate in the recall election of state Sen. Russell Pearce.
Earlier, Constantinos “Dino’’ Eliades, the association’s vice president, collected signatures for the woman, Olivia Cortes, who dropped out of the race after a judge found she had been recruited to draw votes away from Pearce’s opponent.
Now, the association is playing a key role on behalf of Pearce in his primary campaign against Republican Bob Worsley.
The Arizona Latino Republican Association’s website says the group’s mission is to connect conservative Latinos with one another and with candidates who share their values. The association recently changed its bylaws to enable it to endorse candidates in primaries – most notably, Pearce.
Pearce lost the recall election and was replaced by Sen. Jerry Lewis.
The robo calls were significant because Cortes withdrew her candidacy shortly before the election. Signs outside voting precincts alerted voters that although her name remained on the ballot, she was no longer a candidate.
But Borrajero recorded the following call:
“Voters beware: If you plan to vote this Tuesday, you should know that both candidates for state Senator, Russell Pearce and Jerry Lewis, are Republicans. The only other candidate, Olivia Cortes, was forced to withdraw last month. You can protest this one-sided election by writing in your own candidate. This message is paid for by the Safeguard Arizona’s Future PAC, because we believe a well-informed voter is the best voter.”
Pearce’s critics said Cortes’ candidacy was designed to get uninformed voters to cast ballots for the Latino candidate, especially among those who disagreed with Pearce over his anti-illegal immigration stands. The calculation, those critics charge, is that peeling some of the non-Pearce votes from Lewis and toward Cortes might have been just enough to tilt the election in Pearce’s favor…