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Outrage over comments pushes ex-legislator Russell Pearce to quit Arizona GOP party post

PHOENIX — In the aftermath of controversial remarks made over the weekend, Russell Pearce has resigned from his post as first vice chairman of the Arizona Republican Party.

Pearce, the former state Senate President, turned in his resignation late Sunday night, a day after telling a radio audience that if he were in charge of Medicaid, female recipients would be sterilized.

In his resignation letter, he write that he had “shared comments written by someone else and failed to attribute them to the author. This was a mistake.”

He added he didn’t want to detract from the party’s fall elections and had handed in his resignation.

Republicans running for office in Arizona began distancing themselves from Pearce’s remarks.

Gubernatorial candidate Doug Ducey said:

Mark Brnovich, who is running for attorney general:

Candidate for secretary of state Michele Reagan tweeted:

Pearce is no stranger to negative headlines; he became the first legislator in state history to be recalled in 2011 and he lost a bid for a state senate seat in a 2012 primary.

He was a chief supporter and/or sponsor of immigration legislation, including SB 1070 and Proposition 200.

Read Pearce’s resignation letter in full.

KTAR’s Jim Cross contributed to this report.