Back in January, Rep. Lindsey Holmes announced her decision to switch political allegiances and become a Republican, despite having just been elected as a Democrat. Now, in response to the sudden switch, a core of Anchorage residents that claims to include disillusioned Democrats and political independents have banned together to form a self-proclaimed "grassroots" movement to recall Holmes.
"Recall Lindsey Holmes," according to the group's website, is a "non-partisan organization founded to run a campaign advocating the recall" of the West Anchorage lawmaker from the Alaska Legislature. The campaign was formed this month and has one of its first major organizing events Sunday.
According to one of the group's core members, Anchorage resident Colleen Murphy, Rep. Holmes' abrupt flip-flop is a "genuine concern."
"Ms. Holmes registered under a particular political party and requested that her name be placed on the 2012 primary election ballot under that party," Murphy explained. "She swore under oath, on a legal document, her intention to serve her district, district 19, affiliated with a particular party. If that wasn't her intention she should be non-partisan, not running under a party platform."
Rep. Holmes is a lawyer who says she's left-leaning on social issues, but considers herself a fiscal conservative. She was first elected to office in 2006 and has served since as an Alaska Democrat. Until last month, that is.
Last month Rep. Holmes, via news release, said she decided to make the switch because she "enjoyed a close working relationship with the Majority for many years now" and she'd discovered that "we share a common vision of Alaska."
But Murphy calls Rep. Holmes' swap a "classic bait and switch" -- one that gave Alaska Republicans a coveted supermajority in the House of Representatives.
"Really, I don't care what side of the aisle you're on," Murphy said. "This is not a Republican or Democratic issue. This is not emotional, this is not about ego and this is not about party affiliation. This is about (ethical) fitness for office and it scares me that Ms. Holmes doesn't seem to understand that or think it makes a difference."
Group member Wigi Tozzi agrees with Murphy and like Murphy, Tozzi is "committed" to the recalling Holmes.
"I'm generally pretty politically quiet," Tozzi said. "But (what Rep. Holmes did) was just above and beyond mind-blowing, blinding arrogance, especially from somebody who is supposed to agree with me politically."
Tozzi, Murphy and about 20 to 25 others form the core group of the "Recall Lindsey Holmes," which has spent the last few weeks organizing.
"The last couple of weeks have been prep work," Tozzi said. "We wanted to make sure we were in good standing with the state before we proceeded or accept any money (donations). The ground work is mostly done, so we're actually at the point where we need some bodies."
"Recall Lindsey Holmes," will host a planning and information meeting on Sunday, Feb. 17 at 2 p.m. at 2811 Illiamna Ave in Anchorage to discuss activity progress, event planning, volunteer efforts and other campaign-related issues. Members of district 19 are encouraged to attend, but all Anchorage residents are welcomed. "Recall Lindsey Holmes" writes:
There will be a number of items discussed ... (including) our activities over the last two weeks – we have gotten a lot done! We will also be discussing our big kickoff event on February 23 – a week from Saturday. We are planning a rally and press conference in the morning and we hope to start collecting our first signatures later that day ... We could really use your help bringing your neighbors to the event, and also bringing people out from District 19 to sign our application petition.
"If we're going to be successful it's because we've been successful at keeping this issue in front of the voters," Tozzi said, "It's (become) a public relations campaign, really. So it's our duty to make sure that voters stay informed and don't fall into apathy." He adds, "It's really all about your neighbors and this process reminds you of that."
Visit Recall Lindsey Holmes for more information.
Contact Katie Medred at katie(at)alaskadispatch.com