A group looking to recall Arizona schools chief Diane Douglas is hoping that her latest controversy is going to propel their campaign into the spotlight.
Douglas attempted to fire two employees of the state's Board of Education in her bid to follow through on a campaign promise of ridding the state of the federal Common Core curriculum, however, Douglas' firings were overruled by Governor Doug Ducey, who insisted Douglas didn't have that power. Douglas also lashed out at Ducey -- including issuing a press release titled "Arizona Superintendent of Public Schools Diane Douglas Did Not See Doug Ducey's Name on the Ballot for State Superintendent" -- before eventually playing nice and said she'd work with the governor.
The people who wanted to recall Douglas since before she took office are using this as ammo.
"She's doing half the work for us," recall leader Anthony Espinoza tells New Times.
Espinoza, a teacher at South Phoenix's Maurice C. Cash Elementary School, took a lot of heat for announcing a recall effort against Douglas before she even took office, but noted that it didn't take long for Douglas to aggravate a lot of people.
"This past week, the feedback has been incredible," he says, adding that he's even heard from some Republicans who are very upset with Douglas' antics.
Recalling the state schools superintendent would be a monumental task. It would require about 365,000 signatures, which is huge -- remember that a few years ago, a massive effort to force a recall of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio failed to gather enough signatures, and Arpaio has a much more controversial past than Douglas.
On the other hand, it's not that crazy of an idea -- the required number of signatures were gathered in 1987 to force the recall of Governor Ev Mecham. Plus, Douglas was the only Republican who nearly lost her bid for statewide office, as more than 724,000 Arizonans -- a little more than 49 percent of voters -- opted for Democrat David Garcia in November's election.
According to state law, the Recall Douglas effort can't even start collecting signatures until July, and the guys behind the recall aren't ready to commit to a date to start their attempt.
However, they're definitely seeing a momentum swing in their favor, and expect that their campaign will gain steam over the next few months.
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"She seems like she's not going to stop trying to get her way," Espinoza says.
Got a tip? Send it to: Matthew Hendley.