Group launches bid to recall Gov. Inslee over handling of the pandemic

May 18, 2021, 8:09 AM | Updated: 11:34 am
Gov. Jay Inslee recall...
Gov. Jay Inslee. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

A citizen group has launched a bid to recall Gov. Jay Inslee, levying a series of accusations against the governor regarding his handling of the pandemic over the last year.

Recall campaign, Kshama Sawant dig in for lengthy battle

The group included five charges in its recall filing, alleging the following:

  • That Inslee violated religious freedoms in restricting large gatherings
  • That the rights of residential landlords were infringed upon by the state’s eviction moratorium
  • That he overstepped his authority by suspending the Open Public Meetings Act
  • That he violated state law by suspending large gatherings
  • That he failed to adequately demonstrate a “just cause” for issuing proclamations related to Washington’s declared state of emergency

The recall petition still requires court approval to move forward. Should it get that approval, the group behind the effort estimates that it will need roughly 1.5 million certified signatures to get the recall on the ballot.

Inslee won reelection in 2020, defeating Republican challenger Loren Culp 56% to 43%, marking his largest ever margin of victory as governor. Culp garnered just over 1.7 million votes.

This will mark the second attempt to recall Inslee in recent years. In 2019, Arthur West submitted a recall filing alleging that Inslee “was absent from Washington too frequently” while campaigning for president, and “failed to notify the lieutenant governor of these absences.” West also claimed that the governor had “improperly campaigned for a ballot initiative.”

Washington State Supreme Court throws out Mayor Durkan recall

A Thurston County court struck down that petition, finding the charges to be “legally and factually insufficient to submit to voters.” The Washington Supreme Court affirmed that decision, ruling that “West’s petition may have stated reasons to disagree with Governor Inslee, but they were not proper reasons to support a recall.”

This is also the latest in a series of high-profile recall efforts in Washington over the last year-plus, including failed efforts to remove Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, and Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza. A recall against Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant is currently gathering signatures in hopes of getting on the ballot.

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Group launches bid to recall Gov. Inslee over handling of the pandemic