Group ends effort to recall Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey over COVID-19 response

Dec 31, 2020, 5:50 AM | Updated: 2:36 pm

PHOENIX – A group trying to recall Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey over his COVID-19 response has called off the campaign, saying the pandemic has created unsafe conditions for collecting signatures.

Accountable Arizona announced Tuesday it was suspending its effort to fill petitions, which started in September.

“COVID-19 is completely out of control in Arizona, and as a pro-public health group, we have tried to be as creative as possible in gathering signatures; however, Ducey’s willful fecklessness has made it impossible,” the group said in a social media post.

“Our organization is all volunteer and we do not feel comfortable continuing to send our volunteers out to collect signatures, especially when we are met with harassment from anti-maskers at every signing location we hold.”

The group applied to collect petitions for the recall effort with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office on Sept. 18. Adam Halleck of Phoenix was listed as chairman.

Accountable Arizona would have needed to gather 594,111 valid signatures – 25% of the number of votes cast in the in the most recent gubernatorial election — by Jan. 16 to force a recall election.

The group said it was about a quarter of the way to the goal when it called things off.

“Our effort raised under $5,000 and managed to collect over 150,000 signatures during an out of control pandemic – with no paid circulators,” the post said.

It’s the second failed Ducey recall effort of the year, the first of which had the opposite view of the governor’s pandemic response.

The previous attempt was launched on May 1 by Arizonans for Liberty. The group’s chairman, Marko Trickovic of Gilbert, reportedly called Ducey “a tyrant” for enacting measures to combat the pandemic.

“He literally declared war on the citizens of Arizona,” Trickovic told Capitol Media Services at the time. “The fact that he came out and said he would jail people for trying to earn a living and feed people, that’s a tyrant.”

Trickovic didn’t submit any signatures by the Aug. 29 deadline, according to Ballotpedia.

Under state law, any Arizona elected official is subject to recall. If enough valid signatures are collected, a recall election would be held, with the incumbent facing any other candidates who collect enough signatures on nominating petitions.

If the incumbent wins the recall election, the official stays in office.

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Group ends effort to recall Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey over COVID-19 response