Alaska Supreme Court Says Removal Campaign To oust Governor May Continue

Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy speaks at the Petroleum Club in Anchorage, Alaska, USA, January 15, 2020. Photo taken on January 15, 2020. REUTERS / Yereth Rosen / File Photo

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, July 16 (Reuters) – The political enemies of the Republican governor of Alaska have sufficient legal grounds to continue their campaign to oust him from office in a recall election, the highest court ruled on Friday. the state.

The campaign to remove Governor Mike Dunleavy, who has about 17 months in office, is legal and can continue, the Alaska Supreme Court has ruled.

Whether Dunleavy’s critics have argued that his alleged shortcomings – that he is incompetent and corrupt – justify his impeachment rests with voters, the court said.

“Those invited to sign petitions must decide whether the allegations are serious enough to warrant a recall election; each voter in the voting booth must decide whether the allegations are serious enough to justify impeachment, ”said the notice.

Dunleavy, a former teacher, school administrator and lawmaker representing Wasilla, was elected governor in 2018, positioning himself as a political sidekick to then-US President Donald Trump. His tenure was difficult as Alaska struggled with financial difficulties and its dependence on declining oil revenues.

The governor’s enemies argue that he deserves to be recalled because he is unfit and has abused his power. Among the reasons cited by supporters of the recall, Duleavy is accused of illegally using his budget veto to punish judges for decisions on abortion rights and of violating ethics laws by using funds. public for partisan campaigning purposes.

To qualify for a governor recall for the Alaska poll, activists must pass a two-phase test, collecting petition signatures totaling 10% of the votes cast in previous statewide elections and, thereafter , collecting signatures totaling 25% of the votes cast. The Recall Dunleavy campaign said it had 81% of the signatures required for the second phase in April.

In a statement released Friday, Dunleavy castigated the court’s decision, saying it would subject elected officials “to baseless, costly and distracting recall elections by their political opponents.”

Dunleavy encountered issues other than the recall threat.

In a showdown with the legislature, he vetoed this year’s entire Alaska Permanent Fund dividend, a precious payment of oil wealth to residents made annually since 1982.

This week, CNBC ranked Alaska’s business climate last of the 50 U.S. states. CNBC specifically cited Dunleavy’s actions, saying he had “relentlessly cut” funding to the University of Alaska and made other bad decisions.

Reporting by Yereth Rosen in Anchorage, Alaska; Editing by Steve Gorman and Kim Coghill

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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