Calling him a “tyrant’’ who has violated his oath of office, a Gilbert Realtor who has been helping to organize protests at the Capitol against the COVID-19 restrictions imposed by Gov. Doug Ducey is now seeking to oust him from office.
Legal papers filed May with the Secretary of State contend that the governor’s executive orders are unconstitutional and Marko Trickovic wants to force a special election to not only remove him before his term ends after 2022 but also to give voters a chance to select someone else.
The burden is substantial: He and allies need 594,111 signatures by Aug. 29 to force an election. But given the normal disqualification rate on petitions, the more realistic goal could be closer to 750,000.
Trickovic, chair of what he is calling Arizonans for Liberty, acknowledged the hurdle. But he said enough people are angry with the governor for shutting down the state’s economy and for doing it in what he calls illegally.
Trickovic figures he can find 200 people each collecting at least 30 signatures a day and be able to force an election.
There already has been some sentiment building against the governor over both his stay-at-home order and his directive that only “essential’’ businesses can remain open.
But feelings may have only become more inflamed when Ducey announced two weeks ago that he would not let the first order expire as scheduled April 30.
“He literally declared war on the citizens of Arizona,’’ Trickovic said. “The fact that he came out and said he would jail people for trying to earn a living and feed people, that’s a tyrant.’’
Trickovic acknowledged that if Ducey has acted in an unconstitutional fashion there is another potential remedy: have someone affected by the orders file suit and ask a court to void the executive orders. But he said the issue goes beyond the legal violations.
“He has violated his oath of office,’’ Trickovic said. “He doesn’t deserve to sit where he’s sitting.’’
While recalls are difficult, they are not impossible.
In 2011, those seeking the ouster of Senate President Russell Pearce of Mesa submitted more than 18,300 signatures to force an election; they needed just 7,756 to be valid. Voters in his Mesa legislative district turned him out in favor of fellow Republican Jerry Lewis.
How deep and wide is the resentment of Ducey has yet to be shown.
A survey done for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry found that even among Republicans, only 12 percent thought Ducey had gone too far with 73 percent calling his approach “about right.’’
Trickovic said many of the more than 60,000 deaths nationally being attributed to COVID-19 involved people with pre-existing conditions. “These are the same people that were at risk of dying of a cold or the flu,’’ Trickovic said. “However, the media and government agencies that have lied to the people have gone out there and made this thing look like Ebola.’’
Trickovic, a Republican precinct committeeman, saidhe would be happy if it damaged Ducey politically.
“If anything, we will expose who Doug Ducey is,’’ Trickovic said. “And, if anything, that’s going to hurt his chances of potentially running for a Senate seat."