With 22 days remaining, the effort to boot Sheriff Joe Arpaio from office has re-started the paid petition-gathering campaign it discontinued back on March 18.
See also: -Joe Arpaio Fans Look a Little Desperate With Billboards Urging People Not to Sign Recall -Joe Arpaio Recall: Give Joe the Pink Slip and Help Retire Him from Office -Joe Arpaio Recall Claims 200,359 Valid Signatures with 38 Days and Counting
Lilia Alvarez, the campaign manager for the recall-Joe group Respect Arizona, confirmed this evening that a "joint paid and volunteer" campaign is now in effect, in part due to additional funds having been received by the group.
"We're very grateful for the donors that have stepped forward," she told me. "People know, with 22 days left, it's now or never."
She said the decision to end the paid campaign in March was a tough one, but some of contributions pledged to the group had not materialized.
"To hold those pledging money and our own volunteers accountable, we had to scale down the paid effort and hammer away at our fundraising," she said.
That decision has paid off, apparently. According to one source, a text message went out to petition circulators this afternoon from Sign Here Petitions, informing them that the paid effort is "back on," and that they will be receiving a per-signature increase over what they were being paid before March 18.
Alvarez said she was not ready to reveal the current number of verified signatures Recall Arizona has in house, but promised that, "We will be disclosing it soon."
On April 22, Recall Arizona held a press conference to announce that it had 200,359 verified signatures from qualified county electors.
The group must score 335,317 such signatures by May 30. If they achieve that goal, Arpaio must either resign from office or face a recall election.
Citizens for a Better Arizona, the group that forced the 2011 recall of ex-state Senate President Russell Pearce and is now supporting the recall of Arpaio, sent out a fundraising email today encouraging followers to donate, setting a fundraising goal of $400,000.
"The campaign to recall Arpaio just received two $50,000 pledges within the last two days," CBA president Randy Parraz writes. "Now we only need 300 individuals to give $1,000 to reach our goal."
Alvarez did not offer any financial details of Recall Arizona's recent cash infusion when I spoke with her, but she said fundraising events are ongoing, as is the volunteer petition drive, which will have folks at 15 different locations around the Valley this weekend.
Asked about the electronic billboards up around town encouraging people not to sign the recall petition -- billboards funded by Americans for Sheriff Joe Against the Recall, a group fronted by Connecticut-based wackjob John Philip Sousa IV -- Alvarez claimed that they've actually helped the recall campaign.
"We've had people stop by our office and tell us that the billboards reminded them that they have to sign the recall," she said, adding, "People have such short attention spans."
This news is just the kick in the pants recall-Arpaio supporters needed. It's now on all of us to do everything in our power to remove this buffoon from public life once and for all. If we fail, we have only ourselves to blame.