More than 10,000 Alaskans across the state signed an application Thursday to recall Gov. Mike Dunleavy, with approximately 3,100 of those coming from Fairbanks area residents, according to a Friday news release from Recall Dunleavy.
"One of the biggest stars was the community of Yakutat, who garnered signatures from 30% of the registered voter population on the first day," said Recall Dunleavy Chair Meda DeWitt.
The recall process in Alaska requires a number of specific steps, the first of which is to gather 10 percent of the number of voters who participated in the last election, equaling 28,501 based on the last election's voter turnout. That effort began Thursday and will continue until signatures have been gathered and an application can be sent to the the director of the Division of Elections.
Within the first 24 hours after the launch of the official website www.recalldunleavy.org, the group raised approximately $13,000 in individual donations, according to the Recall Dunleavy news release.
Still less than half way to its goal, Recall Dunleavy had scheduled additional events, with three more signature-gathering events in Juneau, Haines and Anchorage on Friday and an event in Unalaska Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Burma Road Chapel.
According to group coordinators, additional signature-gathering events will be scheduled throughout the month.
In statements made last month while talking to reporters, Dunleavy did not express concern over the recall effort.
“Quite honestly I don’t think my actions in following the Constitution when it comes to a veto process in trying to put together a budget that is going to be sustainable is going to end up being a grounds for recall," he said. "People have a right to voice their opinion, people have a right to try and access various constitutional avenues to address their concerns. This is all part of politics, this is all part of being an elected official."
Dunleavy was elected in November of last year.
Alaska has only seen one other organized recall effort of a governor since statehood. That occurred in 1992 and was against Gov. Walter J. Hickel and Lt. Gov. Jack Coghill.
The Director of Elections certified the application on Aug. 26, 1992. But after multiple lawsuits filed in the Juneau and Fairbanks Superior Courts on Aug. 27 and Sept. 5 of that year, the Fairbanks Superior Court ultimately ruled that the grounds for recall were insufficient. The attempt alleged that Hickel and Coghill were "incompetent" and "unfit for office," according to an Aug. 26, 1992 Associated Press report.
Only three gubernatorial recall attempts have triggered special elections in the U.S. history, according to Rutgers University's Center on the American Governor: One successful recall in 1921 of North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier; one successful recall in 2003 against California Gov. Gray Davis; and one failed attempt in 2012 against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
Contact staff writer Erin McGroarty at 459-7544. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMpolitics.