Anthony Adams recall, California, 2009

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A recall effort targeting California State Assembly member Anthony Adams fell short of its goal of collecting sufficient signatures to force a recall election of Anthony Adams. Election officials announced in mid-November 2009 that about 46% of the signatures they reviewed were invalid.[1]

However, supporters of the recall have announced that they will go to court, if necessary, to establish that they did collect enough valid signatures. Tim Whitacre, manager of the recall campaign, said "We will turn over every stone and thoroughly examine every one of the signatures they have. Where we don't find a reasonable, common-sense standard, we're going to aggressively pursue that and seek to have the results overturned."[2]

Recall organizers reviewed a sampling of 40 signatures said to be invalid by the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters and determined that 23 of the signatures should, instead, be counted as valid. They have expressed confidence that they will prevail in a signature re-examination.[3]

Recall motivation

The recall effort is a political punishment for Adams' February 2009 vote with the Democratic Assembly Caucus for a budget package that included $16 billion in tax hikes. Adams was first elected to his seat in November 2006.

The recall effort is led by former state GOP chair Mike Schroeder and Lee Lowrey of Atlas PAC. Through mid-August 2009, recall proponents had raised about $115,000 to fund their efforts.[4][5][6]

The recall effort against Adams was the most serious of several recalls that were announced in early 2009 against members of the Sacramento Six.


  • April 8: An official notice of recall was served on Adams.[6]
  • March 19: Adams resigns his position as chairman of the San Bernardino County Republican Party after several members call for him to step down due to his vote on the 2009 budget.[7][8]
  • August 7: Recall supporters say they have collected about 24,000 signatures of the 32,000 they need.[9]
  • August 7: Recall campaign says say they will begin soliciting signatures through the mail.
  • October 13: Deadline for collecting recall signatures.
  • November 20: Election officials publish a "Recall Failure Notice."[10]
  • December 2009: The recall election would have taken place in December if enough signatures are collected to force the recall vote.

Recall supporters

The official committee sponsoring the recall effort was the Atlas PAC. Others who endorsed or supported the recall effort included:

  • The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.[11]
  • Radio celebrities John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of KFI radio's "The John and Ken Show" hosted a four-hour live broadcast in the district in late July urging listeners to sign the recall petition.[12]
  • Small donors. A campaign finance report covering the first six months of the year indicated that about one-half of contributions to the fund to recall Adams were from donors who gave less than $100.[13]

Recall opponents

Former Assembly Minority Leader Michael Villines created the Protect Jobs, the Economy and Education committee to raise money to defend Adams against the recall effort. Villines, like Adams, is one of the Sacramento Six.


Those supporting the recall targeting Adams were required to collect about 36,000 valid voter signatures no later than October 13, 2009. According to reports, a total of 58,542 signatures were submitted by the deadline. Election officials had 30 days to scrutinize the submitted signatures.[14] According to the secretary of state's office recall supporters fell more than 11,000 signatures short of the required signatures.[15]

Recall supporters, including Mike Schroeder, a former California Republican Party chairman and Adams recall proponent, question the validity rating in San Bernardino County. Schroeder argued that the registrar's office may have used a sample that didn't "fairly represent all signatures" or there was a "massive fraud." According to Schroeder recall supporters signed with an Arizona-based Campaign Finance Company, LLC to collect signatures who guaranteed a 70% validity rating. Supporters paid the company $110,000.[16]

Signature problems

According to a random sample of the 58,542 submitted signatures about 64% of the Los Angeles County sample were valid and only 49% of the San Bernardino County sample were valid.

According to reports and the registrar of voters, several signatures became invalid in San Bernardino for the following reasons:[17]

  • 41.5% were invalidated because listed addresses didn't match voter registration
  • 31.6% were invalidated because signers didn't live in the 59th Assembly District
  • 22% were invalidated because listed addresses were out-of-county or weren't registered in county
  • 4.9% were invalidated because signers didn't register to vote in time or signed petitions more than once

Signature firm

See also: The Signature Breakdown

Campaign Finance was the petition drive management company hired to collect valid signatures for the recall effort.[18] Based in Arizona, the company is owned by Derrick Lee.

Supporters of the recall effort are saying that they may sue Campaign Finance. They paid the firm over $100,000 to collect signatures. Recall advisor Mike Schroeder said that when the recall campaign entered into a contract with the company, they were contractually guaranteed a minimum validity rate of 70% or more.

Schroeder also said, "What we know is that either something irregular happened there [during signature gathering], or something very irregular happened at the San Bernardino Registrar’s office. I don’t want to cast aspersions or point a finger at anybody until we have more information...I’ve never seen a 42 percent verification rate from a professional signature gathering firm before."

See also

External links

Additional reading


  1. Daily Press, Adams recall effort fails," November 20, 2009
  2. San Bernardino Sun, "Adams recall backers to challenge registrar's vote count," November 25, 2009
  3. Daily Press, "Organizers dispute Adams recall failure," November 25, 2009
  4. Anthony Adams recall committee formed, March 12, 2009
  5. Press-Enterprise, "Inland conservative threatened with recall," March 18, 2009
  6. 6.0 6.1 VVDaily Press, "Adams served recall at Schwarzenegger fundraiser," April 8, 2009
  7. Los Angeles Times, "'Sacramento Six' face conservative backlash," March 22, 2009
  8. Press-Enterprise, "S.B. County GOP chairman resigns in wake of discord over his vote on tax increase," March 20, 2009
  9. San Gabriel Valley Tribune, "Adams recall supporters turn to mail campaign to attract necessary signatures," August 7, 2009 (dead link)
  10. "Anthony Adams Recall Failure Notice"
  11. El Bohemio News, "Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association-PAC HJTA-PAC BACKS THE OUSTER OF TAXRAISER," July 24, 2009
  12. VV Daily Press, "Radio duo mobilizes residents for Adams recall," July 31, 2009
  13. Press Enterprise, "War chests soar in recall targeting Inland assemblyman," August 3, 2009
  14. Contra Costa Times, "Adams recall supporters submit thousands of signatures," October 13, 2009
  15. Associated Press, "Attempt to recall lawmaker over tax hikes fails," November 20, 2009 (dead link)
  16. The Sun, "Adams recall supporters say fight not over," November 23, 2009
  17. The Press-Enterprise, "Multiple SB signature problems in Adams recall," November 23, 2009
  18. Capitol Weekly, "Arizona signature firm at center of failed Adam’s recall," December 3, 2009