Republican candidate Jerry Lewis defeated Republican state Sen. Russell Pearce in an unprecedented recall election on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

Lewis, a charter school executive, will now represent the state's 18th District.

The group Citizens for a Better Arizona forced the election in July after collecting 10,365 signatures.

The self-proclaimed "tea party president" had proven a controversial figure in Arizona politics. Pearce was the chief architect of Senate Bill 1070, Arizona’s controversial immigration law, and came under fire in March for reading an overtly racist letter on the floor of the state Senate.

Pearce had also said that Americans were not citizens of the United States but only citizens of their respective states. He had pushed for a bill to grant Arizona the power to ignore federal laws.

The defeat of Pearce forces the state Senate to pick a new president for the chamber.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore