PHOENIX (AP) - A last-minute lawsuit filed Friday challenges the candidacy of a woman running in the recall election for state Senate President Russell Pearce, accusing her of getting a ballot spot to help Pearce, known nationally for championing legislation against illegal immigration.
The lawsuit filed on behalf of a Mesa woman who supported the recall drive in Pearce's legislative district in suburban Mesa argued that Olivia Cortes' candidacy was organized and financed by Pearce supporters to dilute the vote against him.
It alleged violations of state election and fraud laws, contending that Cortes' candidacy "is a cynical ploy" to take away votes from the third candidate in the race, charter school executive Jerry Lewis.
All three candidates are Republicans.
Cortes supporter Greg Western, a tea party activist who filed her petitions to qualify for the ballot, said he wasn't aware of the suit but he again denied that Cortes' candidacy is a sham. He said previously that Cortes hopes to win.
"I guess we'll have to deal with it, but I don't know how," Western said of the lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed in Maricopa County Superior Court late Friday, the deadline under state law to file a legal challenge in the recall race.
It wasn't known immediately what impact, if any, the lawsuit may have because Maricopa County started printing ballots late Friday.
That process won't stop without a court order, county elections spokeswoman Yvonne Reed said.
In another development Friday, a website for Cortes' campaign (www.olviacortest.com ) went live.
The site said Cortes is a naturalized citizen from Mexico and that she is running "to offer a diverse view and feeling about all immigration aspects. I want every qualified national to be able to get a job in Arizona. They will feel good about themselves as positive contributors to our way of life."