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Effort to recall GOP lawmaker Justine Wadsack fails

By: - September 5, 2023 1:50 pm

Sen. Justine Wadsack, R-Tucson. Photo by Gage Skidmore (modified) | Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

A controversial freshman Republican state senator won’t face a recall election, as an effort to force Justine Wadsack to stand for another election before her term ends in 2024 failed to gather enough signatures, backers said Tuesday. 

“I applaud every one of our volunteers for the extraordinary work done during the hottest summer on record,” Rolande Baker and the Sack Wadsack Team said in a statement to the Arizona Mirror about the recall campaign. 

The campaign needed to gather 30,981 signatures by Sept. 5 to trigger the recall. The campaign said it fell short of that mark, but did not share how many signatures it did gather, saying the number was “irrelevant” because the campaign did not hit the required figure. 


“We made the decision early on not to speak of the number unless we did make the mark,” the campaign said to the Mirror. Organizers blamed a lack of time to gather signatures as part of the reason for the failure as well as many of the people who sought out the campaign not living within the Senators district. State law gives recall efforts 120 days to gather signatures to force an election.

“The voters of LD17 don’t want me recalled, they want me re-elected and that’s why not a single signature was turned in,” Wadsack said in a statement to the Mirror, requesting the statement be published verbatim. “I guarantee you I have more petition signatures to get back on the ballot for re-election, than they collected to recall me! I look forward to serving this beautiful district for years to come.” 

The recall created fireworks between the freshman senator and her opponents, leading to claims of harassment from both sides. 

Baker filed the recall in May, saying in her petition that Wadsack has targeted marginalized communities such as the homeless, attempted to create “book bans,” attacked the Arizona State Bar Association and attempted to make major changes to the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind

Since working on the recall, Baker has found herself in the crosshairs of Wadsack and her supporters. After an interaction with someone who called himself a friend of the senator at a July 4 event, Baker found herself being labeled a “registered communist.” 

The campaign and Baker said that the “word is out” about Wadsack now and efforts are now being focused on 2024. It appears that Wadsack is doing much of the same, collecting signatures to ensure she is on the ballot for her next election.


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Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
Jerod MacDonald-Evoy

Reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy joined the Arizona Mirror from the Arizona Republic, where he spent 4 years covering everything from dark money in politics to Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals. He brings strong watchdog sensibilities and creative storytelling skills to the Arizona Mirror.