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Recall of gay
Spokane mayor reaches end

Recall of gay
Spokane mayor reaches end

Spokane, Wash., mayor James E. West will soon know whether he will finish his first term when the results are released in an unprecedented recall election triggered by a gay sex scandal. More than 110,000 ballots were mailed in mid November to residents of this city of 200,000 near the Washington-Idaho border. Ballots had to be postmarked no later than Tuesday. Spokane County election officials planned to release results Tuesday night of the ballots they had in hand.

More than 50% of the mailed ballots were quickly returned. Polls showed that voters overwhelmingly supported the recall. West, 54, did not return a telephone message for comment on Monday.

Recall organizer Shannon Sullivan said she was feeling a sense of accomplishment that the recall battle she launched was coming to an end. Sullivan lived in a motor home for 30 days along busy Division Street in Spokane to collect the 17,000 signatures to mount the recall. The political novice said she was motivated by newspaper accounts that alleged West was offering city perks and jobs to young men in exchange for sex.

West, who has repeatedly voted against gay rights during his long political career and who has called himself the victim of a "brutal outing," has acknowledged having relationships with young men but denied doing anything illegal. No criminal charges have been filed.

Regardless of the outcome, West said he plans to sue The Spokesman-Review. In a series of articles that began on May 5, the newspaper alleged that West offered a City Hall internship to someone he'd met over the Internet and with whom he'd had sexually explicit chats. West thought "Moto-Brock," the person at the other end of the Internet, was a high school senior. Moto-Brock was actually a forensic computer specialist hired by the newspaper to help verify the story of another young man who told reporters he'd met someone he thought was West on the Internet and had had a sexual relationship with him.

The single allegation on the recall ballot was that West used his political office for "personal benefit" by offering to help Moto-Brock obtain an internship while discussing sex and dating him. West, a former Boy Scouts executive and sheriff's deputy, was a longtime Republican state legislator. (AP)

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