Recalling an elected official—let alone the governor—is no easy task, and the group spearheading the recall of Gov. Michael J. Dunleavy has pushed off the launch of its signature-gathering effort by two weeks.
The group plans to begin gathering signatures on Aug. 1, it announced over the weekend. The group had announced an event for later this evening in Anchorage to kick off the recall but said postponing the effort will “better accommodate voters who want to support the recall effort.”
The Recall Dunleavy Campaign highlighted the reach the campaign has already had since its launch last Thursday, when the divided Legislature abandoned hopes of overriding the governor’s vetoes.
“We initially wanted to hold a small kickoff event to gain our first 100 sponsors, but clearly getting those signatures is not going to be a problem,” said Meda DeWitt in a prepared statement.
Anger with the governor and his vetoes is not, by itself, enough to meet the state’s requirements for a recall. Alaska law requires cause to recall an elected official, which can be based on lack of fitness, incompetence, neglect of duties or corruption.
To that end, the group said it’s engaged with a team of legal experts to put together its 200-word recall statement that’s required for the application.
“Since the initial press release went out, seven of Alaska’s top legal experts have worked together to review the legal grounds for recall to make sure that Alaskans sign a petition that can withstand the inevitable legal challenges,” explained the latest announcement.
The announcement didn’t disclose who those “top legal experts” are or what grounds for recall they might be exploring, though many seem to think the governor’s refusal to appoint a judge according to the legal timeline could be part of the reasoning.
In addition to the application, the group will have to collect signatures equal to 10 percent of the turnout from the 2018 general election or 28,501 signatures. If the application is approved, the official petition process can get underway and the group will then need to collect 71,252 signatures.
The event, which had been scheduled from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at The Writers’ Block in Anchorage, will still happen but is described as an opportunity for the leaders of the effort to “explain the recall process, answer questions and share ways of volunteering.”