Arizona state Rep. Russell Pearce won his primary battle to run as the Republican candidate for Arizona's 18th district (Mesa area) Senate seat. He defeated immigration attorney Kevin Gibbons by more than 35 percentage points.

Rep. Pearce is controversial in some circles for his sponsorship of a 2007 Arizona law that allows the state to revoke the license of any business that knowingly hires illegal aliens. This law was the first of its kind in the United States and has since been emulated in Oklahoma.

During the primary, Rep. Pearce was the victim of unscrupulous campaign tactics perpetrated by those who are against his pro-enforcement, anti-illegal stance. Mailings were circulated that rehashed a decades-old domestic violence allegation (no charges were ever brought) and he was repeatedly subjected to libelous assertions which suggested he had ties to a white supremacist.

Rep. Pearce said in relation to these attacks, "These are folks who put profit over patriotism.... They went after me because I think we ought to obey the law, and it was shameful."

His Democratic opponent is Judah Nativio and it is assumed that Rep. Pearce will win the tradionally Republican seat.

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Updated: Wed, Sep 3rd 2008 @ 4:55pm EDT