Effort to recall Jamie Allard from Anchorage Assembly fails to gather enough signatures

A campaign to recall Anchorage Assembly member Jamie Allard of Eagle River did not receive nearly enough support to move forward.

The effort began in November, and had 60 days to gather 2,530 signatures from voters in Allard’s district, a window that closed on Tuesday.

One of the initiative’s sponsors, Chelsea Foster, said organizers collected 454 signatures, although they had not been verified by the city clerk’s office and so the actual number is likely lower.

“It was difficult, we were battling the holidays, the pandemic, bullying,” Foster said Wednesday.

The grounds for the recall were the same as those used in unsuccessful efforts to remove Midtown Assembly members Meg Zaletel and Felix Rivera last year. It stems from a claim that the Assembly members failed to properly perform official duties when participating in a meeting attended by more than 15 people, a limit proscribed by COVID-19 emergency measures at the time.

Though ushered in on technical grounds, the recalls were widely seen as referendums on the political balance of power in Anchorage. Unlike the earlier recall efforts, which were led by people angered by the Assembly majority’s actions on COVID-19, homelessness and other issues, this recall was led by residents aiming to remove a member who has closely aligned herself with Mayor Dave Bronson and has opposed the Assembly majority.

Foster, who does not live in Allard’s district, said she was approached by friends who live in the Eagle River area but were reticent to publicly challenge her.


“They let me know they were really nervous about putting their information out there,” said Foster. “She breached the public’s trust with her support of hateful rhetoric and it caused a lot of angry constituents in Eagle River to want to speak out.”

Foster said the recall campaign raised around $8,000, mostly from small donors. It did not file a finance report with state officials, which is only required of initiatives once they reach the signature threshold to advance to official propositions.

Organizers received hostile messages, Foster said, after their names and contact information — which was publicly available in documents filed as part of the recall effort — were circulated on social media.

“I still get phone calls,” Foster said. “I had to change my email.”

Foster also said she was aggressively confronted while trying to collect signatures, recounting an encounter outside a grocery store in November when a large man grabbed her clipboard and shouted her down at the top of his lungs.

Allard, who was elected to the Assembly in 2020 by a wide margin, is running for a House seat in the state Legislature, and said the recall effort has not distracted her Assembly work or campaign.

“I knew it wasn’t gonna hit the ballot,” Allard said of the recall.

“I know my community, and I know they were very upset when people were trying to get signatures,” Allard said.

If anything, she said she believes the signature drive, spearheaded by people who don’t live in the north Anchorage communities, has put her in a stronger position with residents.

“My support has gone up,” Allard said. “I really do align with the majority of my constituency.”

If Allard were to stay in her Assembly seat after the November midterm elections, technical rules governing recall procedures bar any more removal efforts before the end of her term in 2023.

Foster said it “doesn’t make sense to spend any more time or money on efforts to recall her.”

She said she and other critics of Allard are changing their focus to recruit a competitive challenger against her in the House race.

Zachariah Hughes

Zachariah Hughes covers Anchorage government, the military, dog mushing, subsistence issues and general assignments for the Anchorage Daily News. He also helps produce the ADN's weekly politics podcast. Prior to joining the ADN, he worked in Alaska’s public radio network, and got his start in journalism at KNOM in Nome.