Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio Recall: A Chance to Prove the Pundits Wrong

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Roberts' assessment followed an announcement by Respect Arizona, the Arpaio recall group, that it no longer had the funds to pay professional petition circulators as much as $2 or more per signature.

Just two weeks ago, Respect Arizona was riding high, with news that it had 120,000 valid signatures from qualified electors, signatures verified through county election rolls.

RA suspended the paid campaign on Sunday, March 17. Lilia Alvarez, RA's campaign manager, declined to give me the final count of valid signatures on the 17th, stating that RA was holding that information close to the vest.

But check this: If RA collected valid signatures at the same rate from March 6, when the 120,000-mark was announced 'til March 17, then by my calculation, the organization would have picked up close to 37,714 additional signatures in those 11 days.

Which would mean that RA may have around 157,714 valid signatures in the bank.

If RA were able to maintain the same pace, scoring 3,428.57 signatures (on average) per day, in the 74 days from March 18 to May 30, they would end up with around 411,428 valid sigs, exceeding the 335,317 needed to recall Joe.

By this math, the recall is still possible, though obviously it's a longer shot without the paid circulators.

(Note: Keep in mind, I'm not including the chaff, the majority of those signatures that would be tossed. For example, on March 6, there were, according to RA, 150,000 signatures, 120,000 of them verified.)

RA has enough money to maintain its operational costs, but it needs more -- a lot more.

Thing is, if a few big-money Dems (or Republicans) were to start writing checks, RA could, hypothetically, restart the paid drive.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons