Prescott rancher Steve Pierce won out over retired Gilbert attorney Andy Biggs after the 21 Republicans met behind closed doors for more than an hour. The unusual mid-session vacancy was caused after Mesa voters recalled Russell Pearce, who had that job before. Under his leadership the Senate spent a fair amount of time debating measures aimed at illegal immigration. But his successor sidestepped questions of whether that focus will change.
"My position is to do what the caucus wants to bring forward," Pierce said. "And we're going to do that. We're planning to work that. And if that comes about, why, that's going to be one of the issues. I think the No. 1 issue we have is the economy and working forward with getting the state back to work and getting people back to where they can afford to make their house payments."
Biggs, who remains majority leader, said he will not have any problem working with Pierce, who had previously been majority whip.
"I think Steve will continue to reach out to each member of the caucus, the way he's done as whip. And I think that that's an important thing to happen," Biggs said." "And I think that continues the previous President Pearce's style as well."
The caucus was also the first for Jerry Lewis who ousted Russell Pearce. Lewis said he was well received but provided no specifics of what anyone said to him. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.