Not surprisingly, Juneau reported a robust turnout for the signature gathering on the Recall Dunleavy petition over the weekend. Both at Centennial Hall and at the Mendenhall Library, signature gatherers were reporting steady lines.
But statewide, the response was soft.
In Anchorage, hundreds of people were in midtown for the snowshoe softball game at the Mulcahy Park stadium and ball field, and the sled dog sprints associated with Fur Rondy. Both were close to the signature-gathering location at Sullivan Arena.
But several supporters of Gov. Mike Dunleavy went to the arena to check on progress at what was supposed to be a blow-out event, and came away describing it as a ghost town. There were few cars in the commanding parking lot beyond what belonged to volunteers inside the arena at the folding tables with their recall petitions.
Those arriving to sign were mostly male-female couples or middle-aged women who arrived and left alone.
In Fairbanks, observers reported a steady, but unremarkable trickle of visitors to the Carlson Center, the second largest venue in the state after the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage.
The Sullivan Arena was rented over three days, but it appeared that fewer than 3,000 signatures were gathered.
Recall Dunleavy had purchased the three large venues in Juneau, Anchorage, and Fairbanks to get a fast start on signatures, and they hope to have the booklets turned in with enough signatures before the case is heard in the Alaska Supreme Court.
The group needs 71,252 signatures to put the recall of the governor onto a ballot at a date yet to be determined, but the Supreme Court may still rule against the merits of the recall, which some say are frivolous accusations that don’t deserve the time and money that the effort will cost the State to conduct a do-over of the 2018 general election.
Today, Chief Justice Joel Bolger recused himself from the case to avoid any appearance of bias, after he had made several public statements that were critical of the governor.
In the Lower 48, signature gatherers were found in four states with booklets trying to get people to sign. The practice is illegal under Alaska Statute.