Time doesn’t heal all wounds and neither does a status quo budget.
The campaign to recall Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced this morning it has gathered 21,678 signatures in the two weeks since receiving petition booklets, putting the group near last summer’s blazing pace when it gathered nearly 50,000 signatures in a month. The signature-collection effort has also only been fully underway for about a week since kickoffs major kickoffs were held on the weekend of Feb. 29.
Recall Dunleavy is currently in the second phase of the recall with a goal of 71,252 signatures needed to call a special election. The group needed 28,501 for the application last summer. The legality of the recall effort has been appealed to the Alaska Supreme Court, but the court has allowed signatures to be gathered while the case awaits March 25 oral arguments.
Today’s announcement is good news for Recall Dunleavy, showing that time, cold weather and a relatively uncontroversial budget by Dunleavy have not been enough to blunt the enthusiasm behind the movement. While his status quo budget hasn’t provided the same outrage that his draconian budget did last year, Dunleavy still provided the recall with plenty of material to run on: The broken state of Alaska Marine Highway System, controversial contracts and a flurry of right-wing, anti-union lawsuits.
Time has benefited the Recall Dunleavy campaign, which hit the ground running with more than 90 kickoff events and locations with hundreds of trained signature gatherers in communities throughout the state. The major kickoff events were a week ago and the group had several signature gatherers at the ceremonial start of the Iditarod in Anchorage on Saturday. Additional locations to sign are listed on the group’s website.
“It’s no surprise that we’ve already secured about 30 percent of the required signatures in under two weeks,” said Meda DeWitt, the chair of Recall Dunleavy, in a prepared statement. “We have over 440 trained signature gatherers in communities across our great state working hard to collect petition signatures everywhere; from living rooms in small communities to the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage. Alaskans who love Alaska are taking a stand.”
Once the group turns in the signatures (and if the Alaska Supreme Court doesn’t reject the effort), the state would have 30 days to review the signatures to ensure they are from qualified voters. The state would be required to call a special election between 60 and 90 days after it verifies the signatures. If a general or primary election fall within that window, the recall would be moved to one of those elections.
Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer would become governor if the voters vote to remove Dunleavy.