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by Catherine Holland
Video report by Javier Soto
Posted on November 9, 2011 at 8:29 AM
Updated today at 8:41 AM
MESA, Ariz. -- A political newcomer will replace the man pundits once called untouchable in the Arizona Legislature. In a historic recall election, Jerry Lewis defeated Senate President Russell Pearce, the man behind Arizona controversial anti-illegal immigration law SB 1070.
"I believe the voters of Mesa have spoken, and their voices have been heard," Lewis told 3TV's Javier Soto Wednesday morning. The issue at the center of the race between Lewis and Pearce was illegal immigration.
"I believe we need to bring the federal government into the discussion, a lot more so than we have in the past," he said. "I believe we need to focus on keeping families together.
"What's happening now with immigration law is that we're destroying families," he continued. "If we continue to do that, we're going to have a lot more to worry about than just someone's immigration status. … We need to work to keep families intact."
The race turned ugly, including the introduction of a candidate named Olivia Cortes, whom many believed to be a sham funded by Pearce supporters.
"It was sad that it devolved down to that level," Lewis said. "I don't think the voters appreciated that. … I think a lot of people were turned off by it."
Lewis, a Republican like Pearce, will be sworn in once the results of the election are certified.