IRONY: LAST RECALL WAS TURNED DOWN BY WHO?
The election do-over group known as Recall Dunleavy submitted 49,000+ signatures on its application for a petition today — far more than the 28,501 needed to advance to the next step in a gubernatorial recall election.
The group dropped off the boxes of the application and signatures with the Division of Elections on Gambell Street in Anchorage midday on Thursday after staging a “made for the 5 o’clock news hour” rally and procession from the CIRI building one block away. The CIRI Native corporation has taken a leading role in trying to recall the governor.
Now that the anti-Dunleavy side has gone through the first step, the process continues with a review from the Department of Law.
IRONY LIVES HERE
Ironically, the last time a review was made on a recall by the Department of Law, it ruled against the merits of the recall of former Rep. Lindsey Holmes, who had switched parties after the election.
That opinion was written by Libby Bakalar, who was then an Assistant Attorney General and is now one of the most vocal supporters of the Recall Dunleavy group. She expresses herself frequently on Twitter, such as this epic rant:
Bakalar, in a 17-page decision in 2013, wrote:
“The application’s statement of grounds for recall does not satisfy the legal standard for recall required by AS 15.45.510, in that the alleged facts, taken as true, are insufficient to state a claim for lack of fitness—the sole statutory ground for recall stated in the summary. Therefore, the application is not substantially in the form required by AS 15.45.550(1). We recommend the application be denied because Representative Holmes’s conduct in changing political parties is lawful and constitutionally protected.”
The recall group intends to make the case that because Gov. Dunleavy delayed appointing a judge to a seat within a 45-day time limit set in statute, he broke the law by not appointing until the 72nd day. The courts will ultimately decide if Dunleavy’s actions were unlawful or merely deliberative work protected by a strong governor form of government outlined in the Alaska Constitution.
On March 21, Dunleavy issued a press release stating, “Governor Announces Four New Judges, Declines to Fill Vacant Seat Without Additional Information from Judicial Council.” He then conferred with the council and a month later appointed Kristen Stohler to the second vacancy on the Palmer Superior Court. The replacement occurred before there was an actual vacancy on the court, as Judge Vanessa White was retiring at the end of April.
That set of actions is what the recall group considers its strongest case, hoping that judges on the Alaska Supreme Court will take a special interest in sending Gov. Dunleavy a message or helping him find other work.
The recall group is operating with none of the rules that govern campaigning. They don’t reveal the source of their funding, and are not required to by law, even though they are engaged in a campaign to unseat a sitting governor.
The Recall Dunleavy group is asking for a speedy approval of its application and has indicated it will sue the state if it doesn’t get the approval by October. Its legal counsel includes Scott Kendall, the former chief of staff for the disgraced Gov. Bill Walker, who quit his campaign just days before the General Election rather than face the wrath of voters in 2018.
The Department of Law
is expected to release a statement about its process by Friday. released this statement on Thursday.