Anti-shutdown activists launch recall effort against Ducey




Gov. Doug Ducey listens (left), while Dr. Cara Christ (right) answers a question, April 7, 2020, during a COVID-19 news conference in Phoenix. Photo by Mark Henle/Arizona Republic | Pool photo

A campaign to remove Gov. Doug Ducey from office over his executive order closing many businesses and requiring Arizonans to stay at home to blunt the spread of COVID-19 was launched Friday. 

“Governor Ducey has committed a violation of his oath of office, ARS 38-231 by issuing an unconstitutional executive order by unequally enforcing the law in Arizona upon Arizona citizens and businesses and by failure to address citizens and businesses grievances,” the recall petition reads

The petition was filed Friday afternoon with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office by Marko Trickovic, Steve Daniels and congressional candidate Josh Barnett. The trio have been key players in the re-open protests at Arizona’s Capitol

They will have 120 days to gather signatures to force Ducey to stand for a recall election. They must gather more than 594,000 signatures to force the election

It is unclear how the recall organizers intend to gather the needed signatures, but they face a more difficult challenge than do various citizens’ initiatives that hope to be on the November ballot. Those campaigns have until July 2 to submit either 237,000 or 356,000 signatures, depending on whether the proposal seeks to change state law or the state constitution. Many of those efforts launched in 2019, and have spent several hundreds of thousands of dollars gathering signatures.

Most of those initiative campaigns stopped collecting signatures in March, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Several have sued the state seeking the ability to gather signatures online, noting that their petition efforts have ground to a stand-still.

COVID-19 protest re-open AZ
Right-wing extremist activist Jennifer Harrison stands next to GOP U.S. Senate candidate Daniel McCarthy during the Operation Gridlock protest at the Arizona Capitol on April 19, 2020. Photo by Jerod MacDonald-Evoy | Arizona Mirror

Daniel McCarthy, a longshot Republican opponent of U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, was tagged in a livestream of Daniels, Trickovic and Barnett dropping off the petition, but it is unclear if he was present. 

The domain recalldoug.com redirects to a questionnaire asking if Ducey should be recalled and requesting the user’s name, email address and phone number. The user must also agree to allow the McCarthy campaign to send emails, text messages and phone calls, though there is no “paid for by” disclaimer on the page. The website was registered anonymously April 30.

McCarthy said he has gathered the personal information of more than 5,000 people from his efforts to “re-open” Arizona’s economy, and those people “have spoken.”

“It’s time to join with Texas and other states who will defend the Bill of Rights and re-open businesses, statewide,” he told Arizona Mirror.

In his April 30 announcement that he was extending his stay-at-home order until May 15, Ducey was critical of Texas, which is allowing restaurants to open at 25% capacity.

“Anybody that’s ever run a restaurant knows that 25% is the surest way to just continually lose a lot more money,” he said.

***UPDATED: This story has been updated to include comments from Daniel McCarthy. An earlier version of this story also incorrectly reported the number of signatures needed for the recall to qualify for the ballot.