A 62-year-old audiologist is the first declared candidate in the recall against state Senate President Russell Pearce, though he's likely to get company Wednesday.
Tommy Cattey has filed paperwork with election officials and has gathered about 100 of the 621 signatures required to get on the November ballot. The Mesa resident decided to run because of Pearce's signature issue, SB 1070. That law targeting illegal immigrants has since had major provisions put on hold.
"It has been pretty emasculated by the courts. I believe his intention for it is harsh," Cattey said. "We do need to control the borders and it does need to be done in a better way and more humane way."
Cattey registered with the Secretary of State July 17, organizing a campaign that's limited to raising or spending no more than $500. Cattey said he plans to refile soon he can raise more.
He'll likely be joined soon by Jerry Lewis, a charter school executive from Mesa who has scheduled a media event Wednesday to discuss a potential candidacy. Lewis is a Republican and Mormon, a plus in the west Mesa area that is Legislative District 18.
Cattey is a registered independent and an ordained minster. He is retired from the U.S. Marine Corps and has no political experience.
In facing Pearce, Cattey will compete against one of Arizona's most powerful politicians who has waged eight successful campaigns for the Legislature.
Cattey said Pearce's tenure can work against the lawmaker.
"The people I'm talking to will vote for somebody other than Russell Pearce," he said. "His political experience is what at least partially got Arizona in the difficulties that it's in."
Recall organizers have hoped to keep the number of challengers low - perhaps to just one person - to avoid splintering the anti-Pearce vote. Cattey said he's not worried about doing that because he believes he's the best candidate to defeat Pearce.
Cattey has lived in the Valley 57 years and 11 years in Mesa. His organization consists of him and his wife now but will expand soon, he said. Cattey expects to announce endorsements within days. He has a website, www.catteyville.com.
Cattey wants to establish scholarly commissions on immigration and on the economy, then enact what's recommended.
"I can't solve all the problems," he said "I don't have all the answers but I'm going to go to the experts who have the answers."