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Spokane recall backers near goal

Embattled Spokane Mayor Jim West, shown in 2003, is fighting efforts to boot him from office.
Embattled Spokane Mayor Jim West, shown in 2003, is fighting efforts to boot him from office.
Jeff T. Green, Associated Press

SPOKANE, Wash. — Supporters of a recall of Mayor Jim West hope that by today they'll have the petition signatures they need to put the issue on the ballot.

Volunteers planned to fan out over the weekend at the annual Pig Out in the Park food-tasting event in Riverfront Park in a final push, said Rita Amunrud, a spokeswoman for the pro-recall Citizens for Integrity in Government. Tens of thousands of people were expected to attend the four-day event across the street from City Hall.

"Our anticipation is, we will be able to turn them in at the end of Pig Out," she said. "We do have 180 days (to collect about 12,600 signatures), and we've already gotten a lot done. The support is just amazing."

Jerry Davis, a Spokane lawyer who is helping the recall organizers, spent Friday afternoon filling out state Public Disclosure Commission registration documents. The PDC ruled that both sides of the recall fall under state campaign reporting laws.

The first campaign finance documents are due today.

Shannon Sullivan, a Spokane mom, filed recall paperwork in May, accusing West of abusing his office by offering a City Hall job to someone he thought was an 18-year-old man he met in a gay online chat room. The man was really a computer expert hired by The Spokesman-Review newspaper, which in May began publishing a series of articles alleging that West, a former state Senate leader and staunchly anti-gay legislator, was having sexual relationships with, and offering jobs to, young men he met in gay chat rooms.

West has denied doing anything illegal and has vowed to remain in office.

The mayor told The Associated Press on Friday that he filed documents with the PDC to establish the Committee for Spokane's Progress to fight the recall.

Pro-recall forces had collected "well over half; well closer to two-thirds" of the necessary signatures going into the Labor Day weekend, Davis said.

Organizers hoped to collect at least 16,000.