Lindsey Holmes recall, Alaska House of Representatives (2013)

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An effort to recall Lindsey Holmes, a member of the Republican Party, from her elected position representing District 19 in the Alaska House of Representatives was launched on January 31, 2013. Supporters of the recall need to collect 808 valid signatures by Summer 2014 to submit a recall application. Holmes is targeted due to her party switch from Democratic to Republican prior to the 2013 legislative session.[1]

On November 6, 2013, 904 signatures were submitted for approval. On December 7, the Division of Elections announced that the Department of Law found that changing parties as noted in the recall petition did not equate to a "lack of fitness" for Holmes to hold office. Head of the Department of Elections, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell (R) upheld the ruling and rejected the petition. Recall Lindsey Holmes filed an appeal on December 20.[2][3]

Background

In November 2012, Holmes was re-elected to the Alaska House of Representatives, defeating challenger Anand Dubey (R) by a 10-point margin. Days before the Alaska State Legislature convened its 2013 legislative session, Holmes switched parties from Democratic to Republican. This gave the Republicans in the chamber a supermajority of 30-10, and change the makeup of the Finance Committee from 7 Republicans and 3 Democrats to 8 and 2, respectively. As committees had already been selected for the 2013 session, the reconfiguration provided an empty seat on the committee to Republicans, while one Democrat had to be removed. Holmes was awarded the empty seat by the Republican caucus.[4]

Supporting arguments

Party switch

Recall Lindsey Holmes (RLH) is leading the recall effort against Lindsey Holmes. On their official website, they offer the following statement:[5]

Representative Holmes has demonstrated unsuitable conduct, is unfit for office and should be recalled. She has:
  • Sworn on her Declaration of Candidacy that she was a Democrat. Membership in a political party implies a certain political belief system and is an important factor by which voters evaluate a candidate.
  • Made representations to district residents and her supporters that she would serve in the legislature as a Democrat.
  • Solicited campaign contributions, making representations that she would serve in the legislature as a member of a Democratic caucus.
  • Deceived voters by misrepresenting her intended political party.
  • She formally changed her party affiliation from Democrat to Republican immediately before being sworn in. In doing so, she adopted the political and legislative philosophy voters elected her to oppose.
  • Said, “I think in a lot of ways it has been something I’ve been moving toward for the entire six years I’ve been in the legislature.”
  • As a representative, she joined the Republican caucus and voted for a Republican speaker and a Republican-led organization of the House.
  • Misrepresented herself to voters and Division of Elections, thereby qualifying as deception, unfit conduct, and subject to recall vote.

[6]

Mike Wenstrup, Chair of the Alaska Democratic Party, criticized Holmes' party switch. "Rep. Holmes has deceived the voters of her district," he said. "She should have been honest about her intentions. If she intended to serve as a Republican, she should have run as a Republican."[4]

Opposition

Holmes' response

On June 4, Holmes issued a response to the criticisms over her party change:[1]

I had felt myself aligning more and more on economic development and business issues with the majority, the Republican-led majority. And I had felt myself distancing myself more from the stances of some of my democratic colleagues. I had just felt that on the economic development and business issues, which I thought were important – if we want to fund schools and roads and police, we need money to do it.[6]

Lawsuits

Legality appeal

On December 20, 2013, supporters of the recall filed an appeal in state court. The group hopes that, though Holmes is not named in the lawsuit, she will eventually get involved and be required to explain why she switched parties. The appeal argues that the state's election system is fundamentally flawed if politicians can so easily change their political party affiliations.[3]

Timeline

  • January 31: Recall effort organized.
  • November 6: 904 signatures submitted to the Alaska Secretary of State
  • December 7: Recall dismissed by Alaska Division of Elections for not meeting constitutional requirements.
  • December 20: Appeal filed in court.

See also

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