Alaskans gather in Spenard, assessing possible recall of Gov. Dunleavy

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The Writer's Block, a hidden gem off Spenard Rd., is best known as a small bookstore and cafe that hosts lots of artistic events - but not this time.

On Monday evening, the establishment was filled not only with books, but people who are interested in the "Recall Dunleavy" campaign.

"It seems Alaskans have some buyer's remorse," said Meda Dewitt, spokesperson for the group 'Alaskans to Recall Mike Dunleavy.' "They thought they were going to get somebody who was a champion of education. They thought they were going to get somebody who was going to be a champion of rural communities. And what the Alaskan people have found out is that he lied to them."

Organizers said Monday that they launched the recall effort over recent budget vetoes and what they call "broken campaign promises."

The event was in large part meant to explain how such a process would work, and what it would take to make it happen.

"I came to see what is being done about Dunleavy and if they can actually get him out of office," said Paul Randall, an attendee of the event.

Cat Schoessler, another attendee, said she was there for the same.

"I came here to see what we can do and if we can't recall the governor," she said, "I know Alaska likes to come together and support each other, so what are the next steps to recover?"

In order to recall a state official in one of the 19 states that allows the motion, a group must gather a certain amount of signatures on a petition within a certain amount of time. In this case, 100 signatures are required as sponsors. Then about 25,000 signatures are required to pass the first major phase of the recall process, followed by the requirement of more than triple that - the equivalent of 25 percent of the voting population in the last general election - to actually have a chance at getting a ballot together.

"Recall Dunleavy Campaign" spokespersons said Monday that the group would begin collecting signatures in August.

But the governor himself brushed off the thought of recall Monday, saying in a press conference that afternoon that he believes in public engagement and that there is very specific criteria in order for a recall to be successful.

"This is not necessarily a shock, or surprising," he said. "But quite honestly, I don't think my actions - following the constitution with line item vetoes, building a budget that is going to be sustainable - is going to be grounds for recall."

Still, some believe it's possible to close the book on Alaska's current governor.

"We have a line out the door," Dewitt said. "This is something people have been looking for and wanting."

After the recall petition committee collects signatures of qualified voters - again, equal to 25 percent of those who voted in the preceding general election in Alaska - "the Division of Elections verifies the signers submitted in the petition booklets," according to the agency, "and the director shall prepare the ballot and call a special election."

Recall petition procedures appear in the Alaska Constitution, Alaska Election Law and the Alaska Administrative Code. You can also read more about the state recall process by visiting the Division of Elections website.

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