Recall Dunleavy Campaign Continues Despite COVID-19

Mar 18, 2020

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks at a September news conference in his Anchorage offices. Despite social distancing measures, Gov. Dunleavy is facing an active recall campaign.
Credit Nat Herz/Alaska Public Media

It feels a little bit like the world has stopped turning these days due to the spread of coronavirus. But Sharon Svarny-Livingston is here to tell Unalaskans, that's not true.

"The [Recall Dunleavy] effort is still going on, although we're not having large public events," said Svarny-Livingston.

Alaskans would be forgiven if they forgot, but Gov. Mike Dunleavy is still facing a statewide recall, which began last summer. The state allows recall votes if government officials have been shown to be incompetent, unfit for office, neglectful of their duties, or corrupt.

The Recall Dunleavy effort is focused on specific legal charges. Those charges include the Dunleavy administration's cut of more than $300,000 from the Alaska Court System in response to what the governor called "elective" abortions, and its use of state funds to pay for a Facebook campaign targeting several Republican lawmakers.

Svarny-Livingston is continuing on with leading the Recall Dunleavy campaign in Unalaska. In the era of social-isolation, Svarny-Livingston has taken to one-on-one signing "events." She said that people can reach out personally, and she'll meet them for their signature.

"People can message me on Facebook, or they can call me at 359-2772," said Svarny-Livingston. "But they have to bring their own pen."

Svarny-Livingston is taking precautions. But as long as she can wash her hands and wear a mask, she said she is going to keep collecting signatures.

"I think I should be fine," said Svarny-Livingston. "Hopefully." 

Svarny-Livingston held three events before coronavirus hit Alaska. 

Claire Pywell, who leads the Recall Dunleavy statewide effort, said that the campaign is adapting to a post-coronavirus Alaska. 

"We are taking every step available to us to ensure the safety and health of our volunteers," said Pywell. "[We've] asked that all static locations be paused for the time being, that all pop-up events be paused for the time being. Essentially, we do what folks are most comfortable with to ensure the health and safety of everyone in this ambiguous time." 

 As for Svarny-Livingston, she's gathered 73 signatures so far. She's aiming for 450.