PHOENIX (CN) - The author of Arizona's draconian immigration law apparently lost his recall election Tuesday. State Senate President Russell Pearce trailed fellow Republican Jerry Lewis by 45 percent to 53 percent with all of Mesa's Legislative District 16 precincts reporting.
The results are unofficial until early and provisional ballots are counted, which may take a week.
Pearce's SB 1070 inspired copycat legislation across the country. Sections of AB 1070, and of many copycat bills, have been enjoined as unconstitutional state infringements upon federal power to regulate immigration.
"It doesn't look like the numbers are going my direction on this, and I'm OK with that," Pearce told supporters and reporters Tuesday night. "If being recalled means keeping your promises, then so be it."
A third candidate, Olivia Cortes, withdrew from the race after she was accused of being recruited by Pearce supporters to draw votes away from Lewis.
Arizona media reported that Cortes claimed at a hearing in Maricopa County Court that she did not know who petitioned to have her name added to the ballot, who designed her website, or who had paid for and put up her "Si, Se Puede" campaign signs.
Pearce, a former sheriff's deputy and former director of the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division, was first elected to the Legislature in 2000.
Voters elsewhere in the country dealt rebukes to Republican officeholders, striking down an anti-union law in Ohio, and rejecting a harshly restrictive anti-abortion proposal in Mississippi.