Two Anchorage residents have started a group intended to defend Gov. Mike Dunleavy as he faces a recall campaign seeking to remove him from office.
On Thursday, the Alaska Public Offices Commission reported the creation of “Stand Tall With Mike,” whose stated purpose is to “oppose (the) signature collection effort to recall Governor Dunleavy."
The group’s principal officers are Lindsay Williams and Bob Griffin, both of Anchorage. Williams did not answer a call seeking comment, and Griffin declined comment when reached by phone.
On Sept. 5, Alaskans seeking to recall Dunleavy submitted 49,000 signatures to the Alaska Division of Elections. Those signatures, collected during a five-week campaign, are required for the division to even consider a recall petition.
By Nov. 4, elections director Gail Fenumiai will rule whether that petition meets the standards under state law. A recall is permitted only in cases of incompetence, corruption, neglect of duties or lack of fitness for office.
The proposed petition argues Dunleavy meets three of those standards.
Dunleavy said in a radio interview this week that he believes petitioners do not meet the legal standard for a recall.
Regardless of Fenumiai’s decision, Scott Kendall, an attorney representing the recall supporters, said this month that he expects the issue to be decided by the courts.
If Fenumiai rejects the petition, Kendall said, supporters will appeal the decision.
“We continue to operate under the belief that this will be decided in the courts no matter what,” he said earlier this month, reconfirming the position Friday.
In 1992, a recall campaign against then-Gov. Wally Hickel and Lt. Gov. Jack Coghill was certified by the Division of Elections, but the governor’s supporters appealed that decision to the court system, which ultimately ruled that the Division of Elections was correct.
If the current petition is deemed legal, recall supporters would need to collect the signatures of 71,252 registered Alaska voters, or 25% of the number of voters in the last general election. Signatures collected in the first round do not automatically roll over to the second round, so petitioners would need to start from scratch, though people who signed once before may sign again.
If petitioners correctly collect those signatures, Fenumiai would call a special election for the actual recall vote.