Juneau residents line up outside of the Planet Alaska Gallery to sign an application petition to recall Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Juneau residents line up outside of the Planet Alaska Gallery to sign an application petition to recall Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Judge halts enforcement of decision in Dunleavy recall case

The judge agreed with arguments made by the recall opposition group Stand Tall With Mike.

  • By BECKY BOHRER Associated Press
  • Thursday, January 30, 2020 11:07pm
  • News

JUNEAU — A state court judge Wednesday put on hold a decision that would have allowed an effort to recall Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy to move to a new signature-gathering phase, a stay intended to provide time for the Alaska Supreme Court to weigh in.

Superior Judge Eric Aarseth in Anchorage agreed with arguments made by the recall opposition group Stand Tall With Mike in issuing the stay.

Earlier this month, Aarseth ruled the recall effort could proceed and ordered the Division of Elections to issue petitions by Feb. 10, to allow supporters to begin a second signature-gathering phase. At the time, he said he did not intend to grant a stay halting that process. There was confusion last week when an order granting a stay was issued. Aarseth subsequently said that action was inadvertent and accepted additional arguments, including those given in court Wednesday morning. Stand Tall With Mike argued, among other things, that if the Alaska Supreme Court made a decision invalidating part of the recall application during or after the signature-gathering effort that it would lead to more legal disputes and create confusion. Aarseth said Wednesday that particular point resonated. He said his interest lies with trying to “preserve and protect” voters’ ability to express their opinion. “So when you have in mind that this is a process where the public is making this decision, you want to have as much clarity for the public as you can when they have to start making these decisions,” he said, adding that will really start when signatures are being gathered. It will create confusion if someone signs the petition and the legal grounds that Aarseth approved are later invalidated, he said. “And from the court’s perspective, confusion equals harm,” Aarseth said. He lifted the Feb. 10 deadline, putting on hold his ruling allowing the recall effort to advance until the Alaska Supreme Court makes a decision.

Jahna Lindemuth, an attorney for the Recall Dunleavy campaign, said she disagreed with the stay and asked Aarseth to require that appeals be filed quickly with the Alaska Supreme Court, suggesting a Friday deadline. Brewster Jamieson, an attorney for Stand Tall With Mike, asked for a Monday deadline, saying he had other matters to tend to this week. He said the group meant it when it previously said it would support an expedited appeals schedule. Aarseth ordered that appeal notices be filed by Monday.

Claire Pywell, the Recall Dunleavy campaign manager, in a statement said the campaign seeks a decision from the Supreme Court as soon as possible.


• By BECKY BOHRER, Associated Press


More in News

Erosion of the Kenai bluff near the Kenai Senior Center. (Photo by Aidan Curtin courtesy Scott Curtin)
Ribbon-cutting for bluff stabilization project set for June 10

The bluff has been eroding at a rate of around 3 feet per year

A bag of freshly dug razor clams is held aloft at the Ninilchik Beach in Ninilchik, Alaska, on Saturday, July 1, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
No clamming in Ninilchik or Clam Gulch this year

Adult abundance “well below” fishery thresholds on both beaches

Poppies are affixed to wreaths during a Memorial Day ceremony at Leif Hanson Memorial Park in Kenai on Monday. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Remembering the sacrifices of the fallen

Speakers ask community to be inspired through sacrifice of service members

A fallen tree reaches onto Kalifornsky Beach Road in Soldotna, Alaska, as cars drive by on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Grants, borough to support HEA effort to mitigate dangerous trees

HEA will have permission to enter borough land and the borough’s right of way

Assembly President Brent Johnson asks questions of representatives of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District during a joint work session of the School Board and Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, April 2, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough to enter contract for asbestos flooring abatement in 3 central peninsula schools

The work will be done at Kenai Central High, Kenai Alternative High and Sterling Elementary schools

Kenai Central High School stands under clear skies in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 23, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough approves contract for KCHS parking lot rehabilitation

Soldotna-based Foster Construction will be awarded the bid of $648,997 to complete the project

Central Peninsula Hospital is seen in Soldotna on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Central Peninsula Hospital to host Cancer Survivor’s Day event

The event will take place Sunday, June 2 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, speaks to the joint Soldotna and Kenai chambers of commerce at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Wednesday.
Carpenter gives wrap up on session as he nears end of House term

Carpenter is seeking election to state Senate District D

(from left to right) Jachin Sanchez, Carter Lemons, Rowan Mahoney, Adelyn McCorison and Taylor Rickard graduated from Ninilchik School on Monday, May 13, 2024 in Ninilchik, Alaska. Photo provided by Mattea Peters-Williamson
Ninilchik graduates 5 in 2024 commencement

The school held the ceremony Monday, May 13

Most Read