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By: Paul Atkinson on 07/20/2011
A challenger in the recall election of senator Russell Pearce promises to run a clean campaign. Jerry Lewis formally announced his candidacy to a crowd of family and friends in Mesa this morning. But as KJZZ’s Paul Atkinson reports, he faces a difficult task in unseating the Senate President.
54-year old Jerry Lewis touts his background as an accountant and charter school administrator as giving him the experience needed at the state capitol. Lewis pledges to restore a style of leadership that Mesa can be proud of.
“I will run a positive campaign,” says Lewis. “I will not make any personal attacks against my opponent.”
But Lewis faces one of the most outspoken figures in state office, especially when it comes to illegal immigration. And Pearce will be supported by at least two well financed independent campaigns.
“I don’t think you can beat Russell Pearce at his game,” says Republican precinct committeeman Dave Johnson. “I don’t think you can outsound bite Russell Pearce”
Johnson is a one-time student of Lewis when the former Mormon church leader taught seminary classes. The LDS church is a common link to many in this district.
“People have known him in Mesa for almost 30 years,” Johnson says. “And if he were to go out and be something other that what he’s always been, that would be disingenuous. And it would lack in integrity. He’s going to win because of his integrity, not because he changes who he is.”
Lewis’s campaign plans to get his message out by asking those who know him to talk to their neighbors. They’re hoping to generate 10,0000 such conversations in a district with almost 70,000 registered voters. For KJZZ, I’m Paul Atkinson