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Campbell recall effort dies as organizer says he wasn’t authorized to submit signatures

House Minority Leader Chad Campbell (Photo by Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times)

House Minority Leader Chad Campbell (Photo by Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times)

An organizer of the recall attempt against Democratic Rep. Chad Campbell said the committee collected enough signatures to put the House minority leader on the ballot, but was not “authorized” to submit them before the now-passed deadline.

Bob Thomas, a Phoenix Tea Party activist, said the Fire Representative Chad Campbell committee hadn’t received a green light to turn in its signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office. The committee needed to collect 11,567 signatures by July 10 to put Campbell on a recall ballot, meaning the House minority leader won’t have to face a recall campaign as he prepares for his possible entry into the 2014 governor’s race.

“We have the signatures, but we haven’t got the go-ahead,” said Thomas, who filed the recall paperwork in March.

Thomas wouldn’t say whose authorization was needed to submit the signatures, saying he couldn’t comment because it’s “not public information.” He said the group made a strategic decision to “go to the stronger war,” though he refused to elaborate.

The committee had some financial backing, though Thomas refused to say who funded the group or whether those backers were the ones making the decision to not turn in the signatures. According to online records from the Secretary of State’s Office, the committee hired at least six paid petition circulators to collect signatures for the recall effort.

Officers of the recall committee could not be reached for comment.

Campbell, D-Phoenix, said he was ready for a recall campaign and believes he would have prevailed, though he’s glad to not have to deal with it.

“If they want to try it, then so be it. And if they don’t want to try it, then so be it,” Campbell said.

Campbell said he presumes the committee targeted him in retaliation for a failed recall attempt against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

“So they really just went after the highest profile Democrat, basically,” he said. “My guess would be that once the Arpaio recall fizzled, then they didn’t really see the point anymore.”

Supporters of Campbell’s, including Democratic Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema, created a campaign committee to combat the recall drive shortly after Thomas and others launched their effort to oust him. Campbell, who was working with the anti-recall committee, said he doesn’t know how much money the Arizonans for Chad Campbell committee raised, but that it hasn’t been fundraising “proactively” for a while.

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