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HomePoliticsPlan to fast-track signatures on recall petition hits molasses in January

Plan to fast-track signatures on recall petition hits molasses in January

The Recall Dunleavy Committee had a rough week. After being jubilant over a huge set of wins on Jan. 10, when the committee’s lawyers swept the tables in Superior Court, the case to remove the governor had run into a wall.

[Read: Can Gov. Dunleavy get a fair shake in this court?]

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The Superior Court judge who had just ruled in favor of allowing the group to start collecting signatures on a recall petition on Feb. 10, changed his mind. He sent the matter on up to the Alaska Supreme Court, washing his hands of further controversy.

But by then, the recall committee had scheduled training sessions for phone bank volunteers and signature gatherers, and had rented the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage for three days for a Recall Dunleavy festival, where the push to get over 71,000 signatures would get off to a strong start in mid-February.

Attorneys Jahna Lindemuth and Scott Kendall, former attorney general and former chief of staff to Gov. Bill Walker, are now heading up the recall of Dunleavy. For them, this is personal.

They had been cocks of the walk in the courthouse on Jan. 10, when the judge went through the motions of oral arguments, and then granted them an insta-win.

But if they started out January as lions of the court, they ended January as lambs.

This ruling was a big setback, and possibly a costly one, for the plans to stage their major media fanfare on Feb. 10, when the recall activists and paid employees would descend on the Division of Elections to pick up the petition booklets, while knowing full well the Supreme Court had not yet calendared the case.

The cart, it seems, was before the horse and on down the road a stretch:

  • Volunteer phone-bank training was scheduled for Feb. 4 at AFL-CIO Hall.
  • The signature-gathering training was to take place at the AFL-CIO Hall in Anchorage on Jan. 29, and at the IBEW Hall on Feb. 5-6.
  • Then on Feb. 15-17, the group had already rented the Sullivan Arena to stage their three-day signature festival from 9 am to 8 pm daily.

All that planning is in question now that the recall petition’s validity, and whether the “stay” on collecting signatures in advance is Supreme Court material; the sides are awaiting the decision on when oral arguments will be made.

The Recall Dunleavy legal “dream team” of former Gov. Bill Walker is pushing for oral arguments sooner rather than later.

The Stand Tall With Mike group, which joined the defense of the governor as a legal “intervenor” in the case, is the sole reason for the slowing down of the race to recall the governor. The Division of Elections, represented by the Department of Law, had found no justifiable harm to allowing the petitioners to ramp up their campaign to unseat the governor. But Stand Tall With Mike lawyers said their side would be irreparably harmed if Recall Dunleavy Committee started juicing up the case in the court of public opinion.

If not for the Stand Tall lawyers, who are billing by the hour, the petition books would already be at the printer and they would be available for pick up on Feb. 10. The momentum would be off and running again.

The Alaska Supreme Court is likely to side with the Recall Dunleavy “dream team” lawyers in the end, and allow the recall matter to go before the voters in some form or another. But the oral arguments could be anytime this year. The Stand Tall With Mike group has agreed to an expedited hearing schedule, the terms of which are still being negotiated with the Recall Dunleavy group.

Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. You lost, whiners, get over it. Stop wasting everyone’s time including his. Pretty clever ruse though to slow down his progress on what needs to be done…..

  2. Training at afl-cio hall! The govt and private unions weren’t gonna get what they wanted under Dunleavy so they organized to get rid of him.
    Our society has become union vs. private sector!

  3. I am surprised that we have not heard the allegation that Governor Dunleavy conspired with the Russians to steal the 2018 election. Or that he committed an attempted sexual assault when he was thirteen years old. All part of the same playbook.

  4. Communist never rest at this because Government is their false god. They are driven to serve, protect and feed their pathetic little god.

  5. Looks like a vote will be coming this fall despite all the shenanigans by the court system. Ambulance chasing by the Tall but Small bottom dwellers won’t be enough to thwart the will of the people.

  6. I guess throwing a party is one way to try and get signatures. Renting the Sullivan Arena for 3 days? Who has that kind of money? >:(

  7. “Freedom” Is a scary concept to the left. Freedom to vote the way you want support the candidates you want, spend your money the way you want.. have your kids go to the school you want..have the ability to defend yourself and your family..etc

    You name it, down the line, if it involves you having more control over your life, they are against it. Even abortion, is more about limiting the rights of the unborn, or the father, than allowing freedom of “choice” for the woman. If they could pass a law mandating A certain Minimum number of abortions each year, they would. They would be happy to set up a panel of experts to decide who was fit to be born, or not, in a hot minute, if we let them.

    The people chose Gov Dunleavy, and for the left, particularly, but all the RINOs, and the bureaucratic and donor elites, that sort of reckless lapse in judgment and abuse of the autonomy they’ve allowed us to have, by their grace alone, simply can’t be allowed to stand. Much like Trump, they hate the people “uppity” enough to vote for him, as much or more than they hate him. This will be a big year. Both nationally and in Alaska-We will see if Freedom wins out.

  8. The recall Dunleavy folks aren’t coming for him. They are coming for you…. and your money. Dunleavy is just in the way!

  9. It sounds to me like the Lefties Alaska would support the idea of removing our governor, for whom they feel maximum fear. That encourages me that Alaska will not likely fall through the Leftie floor into the political basement or sub-basement of political ideas. I encourage all readers to speak their minds on the issue, and leave your real name, as I am. I am proud to stand against the Left on most any subject you can imagine.

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