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Political notebook: Dupnik recall effort gets another non-Pima boost - this time from Idaho

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The recall campaign against Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik has received its fair share of attention for its Utah origins, with critics contending it's an issue best left to local voters and folks actually eligible to vote in the Democrat's race.

Not to be dissuaded, the group this week announced William Sali, a former one-term congressman from Idaho, no less, will be a chief adviser to the campaign.

Same song, different verse with an effort under way to recall Republican State Sen. President Russell Pearce.

Citizens for a Better Arizona gathered last week in Phoenix, Yuma, Nogales and Tucson to submit recall paperwork at Secretary of State branch offices. The group said in a news release it wanted to demonstrate statewide support.

Never mind the only people who really matter are voters in Pearce's Mesa legislative district - and they just re-elected him in November with 56 percent of the vote, to the opposing Democrat's 34 percent. Just like the only people who matter in Dupnik's recall bid are those in Pima County, who've elected him eight times in the past 30 years.

Sure, others can assist with money and manpower. Still, we can't help but think the show of unity beyond district lines is a bit of PR - and we don't mean political relevance.

Recall fever

Quite aside from the folks trying to run Dupnik out, and the two separate groups trying to bump Pearce out of his seat, we've got a Chandler woman trying to cut short Gov. Jan Brewer's term.

We've also got Matt Jette, the self-described moderate who was crushed by Brewer in the GOP gubernatorial primary, hatching his own plans for a Brewer recall effort.

Jette, who is now a Democrat since he said the Republican Party left him (not to mention booing him at a Tucson debate during the campaign), said of the challenge, "I specialize in the impossible."

A big boast to make, considering he's not Gov. Jette.

And considering he was laboring under the impression he had to wait six months after her election to get started.

Just so we're all clear: There is a six-month window after an election cycle in which public figures are immune from recall. But that doesn't apply to the Legislature. And it doesn't apply to someone's second term in the same office.

Political pain relief

We all know U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar was a dentist before he got elected to his new job - because since-defeated Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick devoted much space in campaign releases referring to him as "Dentist Gosar," "Dental Prodigy" and "the self-proclaimed Oral Hygiene Hero."

His new chief of staff is also a member of the brotherhood of all things teeth. Rob Robinson, who will head up Gosar's Washington office, lists among his honors, president of the Alaska Dental Society and a stint as a dental ambassador to the former Soviet Union.

If that's not enough, in the scurry to find someone from the other political party to sit next to at the State of the Union address, Gosar became fast friends with Baltimore Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Democrat. It was "their mutual interest in the cause of improving pediatric dentistry" that sealed the deal, he noted.

At least we know where congressional types might be able to score some Novocain if all that civility becomes too tough to swallow.

One termer?

U.S. Sen. John McCain, once among the most strident critics of President Obama, has been sounding a more conciliatory tone these days.

He lauded Obama's speech following the Jan. 8 shooting tragedy in Tucson. He complimented his renewed emphasis on cutting spending and creating jobs. He was among the early supporters of a push for bipartisan seating for the State of the Union. And he had a personal summit this week with Obama.

He also reintroduced his bill to let the president take a swipe at earmarks he doesn't like, at least until the end of 2015.

But he's only being so nice.

He noted that will give "two presidential administrations" the opportunity to use the tool.

Just a guess. But we suspect he's not counting Obama twice.

Contact reporter Rhonda Bodfield at or 573-4243. Contact reporter Andrea Kelly at or 807-7790.

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Related to this story

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik is a man of contradictions. With the eyes of the nation upon him as the Jan. 8 shooting tragedy unfolded, he planted himself firmly in the spotlight when he called his state a "mecca of prejudice and bigotry."

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