Recall Dunleavy campaign gathered 49,006 signatures

Campaign chair Meda DeWitt: It’s a good day to be an Alaskan

A group of supporters of a statewide effort to recall Gov. Mike Dunleavy delivered these seven boxes of petitions containing 49,006 signatures to the Division of Elections in Anchorage on Thursday, Sept. 5, just 36 days after they began their effort. Photo by Margaret Bauman/for The Cordova Times

Backers of a campaign to recall Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy have delivered petitions with 49,006 signatures to the state Division of Elections, and now face the larger task of more than 71,000 signatures before a recall election can take place.

First though, the state Department of Law has 60 days to review the recall application to determine whether it includes sufficient grounds for a recall. Grounds for a recall include lack of fitness, incompetence, neglect of duties and corruption.

If the petition is certified the recall campaign would have to collect over 71,000 signatures representing 25 percent of the voters who cast ballots in 2018.

Talk of a recall effort began after Dunleavy, in late June, vetoed over $400 million from the state’s operating budget. The fallout from the budget cuts has hit Alaskans all over the state, from access to medical and dental care to service on the Alaska Marine Highway ferries.

Backers of a movement to recall Gov. Mike Dunleavy delivered petitions with 49,006 signatures to the Division of Elections in Anchorage on Thursday, Sept. 5. Leading the procession were former Democratic legislator Vic Fischer, left, a delegate to the 1955 Alaska Constitutional Convention, and Meda DeWitt, chair of the recall campaign. Photo by Margaret Bauman/for The Cordova Times

“He is the wrong man for the job, and he is hurting our economy and he’s hurting our families. He’s hurting our seniors and everything that we hold dear in our state,” said campaign chair Meda Dewitt, who, with former Democratic legislator Vic Fischer, led the march to deliver the seven boxes of petitions from Cook Inlet Region, Inc.’s offices in midtown Anchorage. The Alaska Native regional corporation has endorsed the recall campaign.

Standing in front of a crowd of supporters with Fischer after delivering the petitions, DeWitt said “It’s a great day to be an Alaskan.”

“Alaskans aren’t willing to sit by and watch as he devastates the economy and our state,” Dewitt said in a statement released by the recall committee.

The 49,006 signatures collected far exceeded the required 28,501.

“The Recall Dunleavy legal team is very confident that the application contains a sound legal basis that will be upheld in Alaska’s courts,” said Scott Kendall, current legal counsel to the recall group. “Based on the relevant statues and the agency’s practice for the last 15 years, we expect to receive the division’s decision within 30 days. Their recall group’s legal team also includes former Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth, and trial and appellate attorneys Jeff Feldman and Susan Orlansky.

Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai said in a statement before the petitions were delivered that the 60-day timeframe provides both her division and the Law Department a reasonable amount of time for verification of the signatures and thorough legal review.

As this recall involves a statewide elected office, and not a House or Senate district, the review process is expected to take longer to verify the signatures, let alone the legal review,

she said.