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Organizers of West recall nearing signature goal

Organizers of West recall nearing signature goal

Organizers of a campaign to recall Spokane, Wash., mayor Jim West think they have enough signatures to get the recall measure on the ballot.

Organizers of a campaign to recall Spokane, Wash., mayor Jim West think they have enough signatures to get the recall measure on the ballot, but they'll continue to gather more as a buffer. "We want to make sure there are enough valid signatures" when the petition is submitted, recall campaign spokeswoman Rita Amunrud said. The petition alleges that West used his elected office for personal gain--specifically, that he wrote a recommendation to help someone he believed to be an 18-year-old man he had met in an online gay chat room get a City Hall internship. The man turned out to be a computer forensics expert hired by The Spokesman-Review newspaper. West has acknowledged having sexual relationships with adult men but denies any legal wrongdoing. He has not been charged with a crime and has vowed to fight the recall. Shannon Sullivan, who filed the recall paperwork in May, successfully argued before the state supreme court last month that she should be allowed to circulate petitions. Two weeks after the supreme court cleared the way, recall organizers said they were close to their goal. The petition needs 12,567 voter signatures that can be validated by officials; it had about 12,700 signatures Tuesday, and organizers hoped to gather about 5,000 more. Organizers set up a drive-through petition signature site in a parking lot and staffed booths at a food fair over the Labor Day weekend. Campaign finance documents filed late Tuesday show that West owes nearly $85,000 in legal fees from his fight to remain in office and that an antirecall effort raised $650. "I've expected to pay my own bills from the beginning," West told the Associated Press on Wednesday. "It's just another campaign, like every other one." Under state law, the recall organizers have 180 days to turn in petitions, but they hope to make the November 8 ballot. Spokane County auditor Vicky Dalton has said that would be a stretch because of the time needed to verify the signatures. (AP)

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