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Effort to recall AZ school chief a long shot

Posted at 3:59 PM, Oct 03, 2015

Organizers of a campaign to recall Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas say they have no plans to give up despite facing tough odds. 

Proponents to oust Douglas from her office need to collect at least 90,000 additional signatures for a petition by Dec. 30 to move forward. A recall petition requires 366,000 valid signatures from registered voters. While some call it a fool's errand, campaign chairman Max Goshert said it's a necessary one.

"My blissful ignorance in the beginning helped me look past that huge challenge and continue to look forward," Goshert said. 

It would cost between $1 million and $2 million for professionals to mount such an effort, according to some consultants. Shane Wikfors, a GOP political consultant, said he is certain the recall launch is doomed.

"To mount a recall at a statewide level you would basically need an elected official who has been caught in a major crime of some form to really take off," Wikfors said.

The campaign is running on the labor of 750 volunteers, who are working without funding from education groups or Democrats. Goshert said they have received several high-level contributions but wouldn't disclose the amount.

Goshert took over campaign chair from Anthony Espinoza, who had created a Facebook page for Douglas' recall. Espinoza said the page was an expression of protest. But then the "likes" started coming in.

"We were saying this is something people are really reacting strongly to, it's something we might want to look at actually doing," Goshert said.

Goshert said he was first soured by Douglas after seeing her narrow platform, which only focused on banning Common Core,  the Arizona Capitol Times reported.

The Republican superintendent is embroiled in a lawsuit with the state Board of Education over her failure to comply with board policies.