Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is working to keep his seat while Russell Pearce is looking for a Senate seat. The two recently attended an Arizona Red Mountain Tea Party meeting. The two men have been in office for some time and have to face issues of border control and immigration again, as these are the two topics that may decide the election in Arizona.
Russell Pearce was a former Arizona Senate president who lost a recall battle in November. He is eager to regain his seat. Pearce wrote the highly controversial Senate Bill 1070 in Arizona targeting undocumented immigration. That bill has been questioned in court because some legal experts contend that it oversteps state authority for regulating immigration. The federal government has the sole authority to enforce immigration laws. Despite the negative publicity Senate Bill 1070 and Pearce have received, some experts believe that he may have a good chance in 2012. Pearce is now part of the Ban Amnesty Now organization and the redistricting process may have given him an advantage by placing him in a conservative locale. As well, Pearce faces few opponents.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio has held his office for five terms and has earned a reputation for being tough on undocumented immigrants. The son of immigrants, Arpaio has stated that he feels compassion for children of undocumented immigrants but feels that anyone who crosses the border without the benefit of the immigration process is committing a crime. He has also stated that he will be keeping an eye on undocumented immigrants in his area and has expressed concern that government agencies prioritize criminal undocumented immigrants for deportation rather than all undocumented immigrants.
Recently, Arpaio has spoken out against the release of undocumented immigrants from a jail following an immigration rally. Arpaio stated that he felt it was a staged event that was meant to target him as he fought for his office. While many experts believe that Pearce has a good chance of winning, most agree that Arpaio faces a much tougher fight against strong candidates to retain his office.
Outside the Tea Party Meeting, Citizens for a Better Arizona worked to ensure that both Arpaio and Pearce do not get elected. Randy Parraz of Citizens for a Better Arizona has stated that he will be knocking on doors and telling people about both Pearce and Arpaio to ensure that the who lose their elections.