Attempt to recall Guinn begins | NevadaAppeal.com
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Attempt to recall Guinn begins

by Geoff Dornan, Appeal Capitol Bureau

A Las Vegas group attempting to recall Gov. Kenny Guinn will have until Nov. 25 to collect 128,109 signatures to force an election, which Guinn said he would trust to “the wisdom of the people.”

The Committee to Recall Governor Guinn, composed primarily of conservative Republicans and members of the Independent American Party, filed its notice of intent to circulate petitions with the secretary of state’s office Wednesday.

Under Nevada’s recall system, the group has 90 days to turn in petitions bearing signatures of at least 25 percent of the number who voted in the election which put Guinn in office.

That is much tougher than in California where just 12 percent of the number of voters in the specific race being challenged is required and there is no time limit in which to collect them.

Guinn said he and the Legislature were forced this year to address “the most serious financial crisis in our state’s history.”

“Nevadans expect their elected officials to make difficult decisions that are not always popular with everyone,” he said. “I am honored the voters of this state have twice elected me to serve as their governor. With respect to the recall effort, I have great faith in the wisdom of the people of Nevada.”

Guinn said he froze more than 1,600 positions in government and cut nearly $250 million out of programs before recommending what he says were critically needed tax increases.

He said his other accomplishments include privatizing the state workers’ compensation program, creating a prescription drug program for low income seniors, establishing the Millennium Scholarship program and addressing a medical malpractice crisis last summer.

The recall drive is headed by political consultant Tony Dane, who said Guinn was “the catalyst behind” the $836 million tax plan approved by the Legislature.

“And we need to get rid of the catalyst,” he told the Associated Press Tuesday.

Dane was joined by Chuck Patti of Pahrump, Ron Wade of Las Vegas and Christopher Hansen of Henderson in signing the notice of intent.

If they get enough valid signatures, an election will be set within 30 days. The governor’s name would appear on the ballot and voters would be given the chance to vote for or against retaining him. If he is recalled from office, the lieutenant governor would replace him unless another candidate can get on the ballot.

Any candidate wishing to replace Guinn would also have to raise 128,109 signatures on a petition — also much tougher than in California, where the number can be as low as 62 signatures. That is the primary reason there are more than 130 candidates on California’s Oct. 7 recall ballot.

Dane and others had originally planned to try recall members of the Supreme Court who voted that a two-thirds supermajority required to pass any tax must “give way” to a constitutional mandate that the state fund public education. Depending on which justice and which year they were elected, that would have required up to 153,340 signatures. That recall plan has apparently been dropped.

Elected in 2002, Guinn’s term expires Dec. 31, 2006.