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11/6/2019
Recall group challenges application denial

By BECKY BOHRER
Associated Press

JUNEAU — A group seeking to recall Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy filed a legal complaint Tuesday, saying a state elections official erred in not allowing the recall effort to proceed.

The Recall Dunleavy campaign also filed court documents seeking to have the matter fast-tracked, with arguments in early December.

"There is no legitimate reason for delay," Jahna Lindemuth, an attorney for the group and a former state attorney general, wrote in an affidavit filed Tuesday.

Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai said Monday she relied on legal advice from Attorney General Kevin Clarkson, a Dunleavy appointee, who found the statement of grounds for recall to be "factually and legally deficient."

Clarkson's opinion concluded the allegations failed to meet the listed grounds for recall, which were neglect of duty, incompetence or lack of fitness.

Among its claims, the recall group said the Republican governor violated the law by not appointing a judge within a required timeframe, misused state funds for partisan online ads and mailers, and improperly used his veto authority to "attack the judiciary."

Scott Kendall, a lawyer for the recall group, called the rejection expected.

The decision is being appealed on behalf of those "who signed on to exercise their constitutional right to remove Gov. Dunleavy from office," Kendall said in a statement.

More than 46,000 of the roughly 49,000 signatures the group said it turned in were verified as qualified. The group needed 28,501 as part of its application.

If the recall were to go forward, there would be a second round of signature gathering, in which more than 71,000 signatures would be needed.