Backers of an effort to recall Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist from office admitted defeat Tuesday, two weeks before a Feb. 22 deadline to turn in a required 38,000 signatures to bring the proposal to the ballot.
But they also said they plan to try again.
Campaign president Cheryl Iseberg said the first campaign couldn’t raise enough money to support groundwork for the signature drive that began last fall.
“We did not have an issue gathering signatures via our volunteers or paid signature gatherers when we were out in the field,” she said via email. “We found that the quotes from paid signature gathering organizations changed dramatically from $1.50-$2 (per signature) in the beginning to over $7 a signature later in the campaign. Price figures into the success when funds are so restricted.”
The News Tribune sought comment from Lindquist, who replied with an emailed statement:
“The recall was doomed because the good people in our office are doing an outstanding job of prosecuting criminals and protecting the public,” he said. “Their campaign failed to gather signatures and raise money because the overwhelming majority of people in the county back our office. I’ve continued to receive enthusiastic bipartisan support from the community, which I deeply appreciate.”
The recall petition, approved in August, found factual and legal sufficiency for the charge that Lindquist engaged in a vindictive prosecution of a Pierce County woman. Another 11 charges related to other matters in Lindquist’s office failed to meet the legal standard, a judge found.
Iseberg added that the recall campaign “has been about restoring justice to Pierce County,” and said it has raised awareness of Lindquist’s abuse of authority. She said the campaign obtained about one third — 13,000 — of the 38,642 signatures required for the ballot.
Campaign backers, citing fear of retaliation from Lindquist, also tried unsuccessfully to gain permission for anonymous donations from staff members in Lindquist’s office. The state Public Disclosure Commission, which oversees campaign finance rules, refused to allow it.
“We will continue to provide community outreach and pursue all available avenues to us until Lindquist is no longer in office,” Iseberg said.
Did that mean backers will try again, and file another recall petition?
“Yes,” she said.