Senate leader defends recall effort against Valley Lawmaker

5/1/2008 Sacramento, CA Replacing Sen. Jeff Denham of Merced with the lone Democrat on the recall ballot would leave Democrats just one vote short of the two-thirds majority they need to pass the budget.

Perata, the Senate's president pro tem, said that if he has the chance pick up a Democrat who would support a tax increase, (in his words), "I'm going to do that."

Perata spoke to The Associated Press in his first extended interview about the recall drive.

The recall grew out of Democrats' frustration last summer with Denham, who has been viewed as a moderate but joined fiscal conservatives in blocking the budget.

Denham refused to break with the Senate's Republican caucus and support the $145 billion spending plan for the current fiscal year.

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