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Arizona immigration law author elected state Senate president

A quick dive into Arizona state politics: State Sen. Russell Pearce, the author of Arizona’s controversial immigration law, was selected as president of the Arizona Senate Wednesday after Republicans gained super-majorities in the state House and Senate in the elections. The new title will make Pearce even more powerful — which should come in handy when he makes his planned push to change laws to deny citizenship to U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants.

Pearce, along with lawmakers in at least 12 other states, plans to introduce a bill in the next session to change citizenship laws in the state of Arizona. The proposal isn’t on Gov. Jan Brewer’s (R) agenda for her next term, but given Pearce’s popularity, some observers argue he will be able to call the shots as president of the Senate to push for anti-immigration laws.

The Arizona Republic’s E.J. Montini makes a case for Pearce as de facto governor:

The co-chairman of Gov. Jan Brewer’s campaign actually seems to believe that his candidate won the election.

Grant Woods, former attorney general, friend and confidant of Sen. John McCain and Gov. Brewer, told me he is convinced that Brewer and not state Sen. Russell Pearce, the sponsor of Senate Bill 1070, will set the agenda for the state’s Republican-controlled government.

He’s wrong. [...]

The budget deficit facing Arizona this year and next is so huge there is no way for Republicans to deal with it without cutting funding in a way that will anger everybody.

And no matter what the new majority in Arizona may claim, the state has always been in Republican control. They got us here, and they need someone else to blame for the mess.

I expect they’ll use Pearce’s plan to rid the state of what he calls “anchor babies” to cover up the budget disaster.

Pearce seems unlikely to back down on the issues he supports. He also seems dismissive of Brewer, who became governor after former Gov. Janet Napolitano (D) was appointed to President Obama’s cabinet. Brewer saw a huge increase in popularity after signing SB 1070, even though she had little to do with the bill until it reached her desk.

On Tuesday evening, Pearce said the governor should thank him for his help in her election victory. “I think, out of fairness, the governor would have to admit that if it wasn’t for 1070, she wouldn’t be elected,” Pearce told an Arizona TV station. “I know other folks ran on 1070. Nationally, folks ran on 1070. I had three governor candidates call me to do calls for them and support them, not because I’m Russell Pearce, but I’m the face of 1070.”

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