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Clarence Dupnik recall, Pima County, Arizona (2011)

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An effort to recall Clarence Dupnik from his position as sheriff
of Pima County, Arizona, was launched in January 2011.[1] The recall effort was abandoned in April 2011.[2]

The motivation behind the effort to recall Sheriff Dupnik was the remarks he made in the wake of the tragic shootings in Tucson, Arizona on January 8, 2011, that left six people dead and 13 wounded.[1] Dupnik made headlines for saying that shooting can partly be blamed on "vitriolic rhetoric" in the nation's political discourse.[1]

The Pima County Tea Party Patriots group set a rally for January 28 to show support for the idea of recalling Dupnik.[3] The organization said they felt Dupnik should be removed from office for "politicizing the shootings, blaming free speech for the crime without evidence, failing to protect Giffords, failing to recuse himself from the investigation, and embarrassing the community in front of the nation."[3]

Dupnik, a Democrat, has served as Pima County's sheriff since 1980.[4]

Remarks about Tucson shooting

In the hours and days after the fatal shootings in Tucson, Dupnik:

  • Assigned blame for the shootings to political “vitriol."[5]
  • Called Arizona "a mecca for prejudice and bigotry."[5]
  • Said that "'partial ... sometimes wrong information' promulgated by Limbaugh and other conservatives might have triggered the incident."[4]
  • Said that political vitriol causes unstable people such as shooter Jared Lee Loughner to commit actions such as the tragic shootings: "The vitriol affects the [unstable] personality that we are talking about."[4]

Objections to remarks

Dupnik holds forth
  • The Pima Tea Party Patriots group accused Dupnik of ."..politicizing the shootings, blaming free speech for the crime without evidence, failing to protect Giffords, failing to recuse himself from the investigation, and embarrassing the community in front of the nation."[5]
  • Tom Rompel, the co-owner of Black Weapons Armory in Tucson, said, "I haven’t been a fan of Dupnik‘s for a long time, but this really was the straw that broke the camel’s back. He’s law enforcement. We expect ‘the facts, ma’am,’ not his opinion. He leans far left, always has, and frankly, people have had enough."[5]
  • Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, who said that Dupnik is a "left-wing activist."[6]
  • Tucson resident Kathy Armbruster, who said, "It makes it sound like we're such a horrible state with such awful people. We need someone who likes Arizona" in office.[7]

Gag order

On January 19, the Pima County Sheriff's Department issued a statement that said:

"Until further notice, due to a controversy between the Sheriff's Department and the County Attorney's office, no further information reference the January 8, 2011 shooting will be released."[8]

Extent of interest

From January 8 to January 11, Dupnik's office received about 5,200 emails from around the country with various expressions of opinion about his commentary on the Tucson shootings.[9]

Recall supporters

The idea of recalling Dupnik from office was supported by:

  • Dan Baltes, executive director of Americans Against Immigration Amnesty.[5] Baltes is from Salt Lake City, Utah. He says, "I've gotten emails from people who support the sheriff, who support what he did, and who want me to keep my nose out of it. But for every one of those, I'm getting 50 saying 'Thank you,' and that's from Republicans and Democrats alike."[10] Pima County Elections Director Brad Nelson told the press that Baltes is legally allowed under Arizona law to lead the recall effort, even though he is from Utah.[11]
  • The Pima County Tea Party Patriots group. This group sponsored a "Dump Dupnik" rally on January 28.[7]
  • Walt Setzer, a former U.S marshal and former Border Patrol agent, who plans to run against Dupnik in 2012.[7]
  • William Sali, a former congressman from Idaho, has agreed to advise the Dupnik recall effort.[12]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing recall in Arizona

To force a recall election, recall supporters would have needed to collect 90,809 valid signatures within 120 days.[5]

Dan Baltes withdrew the recall petition in April 2011 after his brother, Kevin Elliott, accused Baltes of stealing his identity and forging his signature on recall petition paperwork.[2]

See also

External links