Recall campaign is ready for a fight

Recall campaign is ready for a fight

Campaign is gearing up for the next phase

The Recall Dunleavy camp is gearing up for the next phase of the campaign, whatever that may be.

The campaign is waiting on two decisions from the State of Alaska, and each of those decisions will set off its own chain of events.

“We’re gearing up for the phase that’s in front of us,” said Claire Pywell, campaign manager for Recall Dunleavy. But what that next phase is, isn’t quite clear.

The campaign submitted roughly 49,000 signatures Sept. 6 and the state has 60 days to review and verify each of those signatures. If the state takes the full amount of time, that will be in the first week of November, though the state could make its decisions at any time.

At the same time signatures are being checked, the legal case the campaign has made against the governor is being reviewed by the Department of Law and Attorney General Kevin Clarkson.

Either of those two things can be shot down by the state. The Division of Elections, which ensures signatures are valid, could declare that not enough valid signatures were submitted.

That’s the reason the campaign submitted so many signatures to begin with. The campaign needed 28,501 for a recall application to be considered valid. With so many extra signatures it seems unlikely the campaign will fail to reach the threshold.

The campaign also submitted a 200-word letter outlining the legal grounds for the removal of Gov. Mike Dunleavy. That argument will be reviewed by the Department of Law.

The Attorney General’s office couldn’t immediately be reached for comment, but the recall campaign is ready for a fight. The campaign has its own legal team with their own (former) attorney general.

Jahna Lindenmuth and Scott Kendall, both of whom worked for Gov. Bill Walker, are on the campaign’s legal team, as well as Jeffery Feldman and Susan Orlansky. Orlansky volunteers as a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska and Feldman helped prosecute the Exxon Valdez case.

“We know that we have to hit the ground running,” Pywll said.

The legal team had agreed to work for a reduced rate the campaign is currently fundraising for, according to Pywell.

Once the signatures are verified and the legal grounds accepted, the Alaska Supreme Court will rule on the matter. Then the next phase of the recall campaign can begin. If everything goes the recall campaign’s way, the next phase will be another round of signature gathering for a petition. A petition needs 25 percent of the number of voters who cast ballots in the general election; in this case, that’s 71,252 signatures.

The process is designed to be highly scrutinized. According to the Recall Dunleavy website, “Alaska statute provides any side of this process with access to the superior courts.” That means that at any time the governor can challenge the campaign in court, adding yet another lengthy bureaucratic procedure to the process.

“Given the history of past recall efforts,” the campaign’s site says, “it is almost certain that the question will wind up in court for a final determination.”

An Alaska governor has never been recalled. According to the campaign’s website, the closest effort was the 1991 effort to recall Lt. Gov. Jack Coghill which passed through the application and court phases.


• Contact reporter Peter Segall at 523-2228 or psegall@juneauempire.com.


More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of June 22

Here’s what to expect this week.

Participants in a pro-choice abortion rally gather outside the Governor’s Residence on Saturday to demand a pro-life flag flying at the entrance be taken down. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Pro-choice abortion protesters march to Governor’s Residence to demand removal of pro-life flag

Rally on second anniversary of U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision also focuses on fall election.

Eddie Petrie shovels gravel into a mine cart as fast as possible during the men’s hand mucking competition as part of Juneau Gold Rush Days on Saturday at Savikko Park. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Mucking, trucking, chucking and yukking it up at Juneau Gold Rush Days

Logging competitions, live music, other events continue Sunday at Savikko Park.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, June 20, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Pins supporting the repeal of ranked choice voting are seen on April 20 at the Republican state convention in Anchorage. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
State judge upholds most fines against group seeking repeal of Alaska ranked choice voting

An Anchorage Superior Court judge has ruled that opponents of Alaska’s ranked… Continue reading

Joshua Midgett and Kelsey Bryce Riker appear on stage as the emcees for MixCast 2023 at the Crystal Saloon. (Photo courtesy Juneau Ghost Light Theatre)
And now for someone completely different: Familiar faces show new personas at annual MixCast cabaret

Fundraiser for Juneau Ghost Light Theatre on Saturday taking place amidst week of local Pride events

Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire
A section of Angoon along the coast is seen on June 14. Angoon was destroyed by the U.S. Navy in 1882; here is where they first pulled up to shore.
Long-awaited U.S. Navy apology for 1882 bombardment will bring healing to Angoon

“How many times has our government apologized to any American Native group?”

Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon announced this week she plans to seek a third three-year term. (Juneau Empire file photo)
Mayor Beth Weldon seeking third term amidst personal and political challenges

Low mill rate, more housing cited by lifelong Juneau resident as achievements during past term.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, June 19, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read