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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Oregon Conservatives Closing In On Recall 2?

Posted by Matt Davis on Thu, Nov 5, 2009 at 11:14 AM

The second recall effort has asked for an estimate to gather signatures from the same right-wing firm that used convicted sex offenders to gather signatures for 14 conservative initiatives this summer.

recallrecalllll.jpg

RECALL 2: SO LONG, GRASSROOTS, HELLO, ASTROTURF!

"We were contacted by somebody representing themselves as from the second recall campaign," says Ross Day, with Voice of the Electorate (VOTE), the signature gathering firm. "We sent them a contract about three weeks ago, but we haven't heard back yet," Day continues.

Day says VOTE's bill for gathering the 50,000 signatures required to put another Sam Adams recall on the ballot "could be anywhere between $150,000 and $300,000." "There's a lot of variables, the weather, the availability of circulators, and so on," he continues.

KEVIN MANNIX (LEFT)
  • KEVIN MANNIX (LEFT)

Day established VOTE earlier this year along with two other nonprofits operating under the shared name of Common Sense for Oregon, with his ally, former right-wing gubernatorial candidate Kevin Mannix. Mannix's long-term adviser Jack Kane was also linked to the second recall campaign by the Tribune earlier this morning.

Mannix's statewide political efforts have run the gamut from "anti-obscenity" measures, to killing taxes on the rich and corporations, to mandatory minimum sentences for drug addicts without the option of treatment.

Mannix has one major patron, Nevada-based businessman Loren Parks, who has contributed over $4million to his political efforts since 1994. Parks, an eccentric, also offers sex therapy on his Youtube channel.

Day and Mannix told the Oregonian in August that they wanted to restore people's trust in the initiative system, following documented cases of signature fraud, and the jailing of Oregon's best-known initiative racketeer, Bill Sizemore.

SIZEMORE (LEFT)
  • SIZEMORE (LEFT)
Researchers at Our Oregon—a union-backed nonprofit that has focused on defeating right-wing initiative measures over recent years—said in August that Day and Mannix may have set up a new company, but that 20 of their 40 signature gatherers worked for Sizemore. Eighteen of the VOTE circulators working this summer had criminal histories, 12 had multiple arrests, seven had theft convictions, two were convicted forgers, two were registered sex offenders, and there was even a serial recidivist stalker on the list.

Nevertheless, VOTE is a force to be reckoned with. Their signature gatherers successfully referred tax hikes to the ballot this summer, and have forced Our Oregon to go out talking to Oregonians about why the tax hikes on the wealthy and corporations are vital to pay for basic services.

If conservatives are indeed closing in on the second recall effort, they will encounter an unlikely ally in former State Senator Avel Gordly, a Democrat turned Independent, who recently took over from Jasun Wurster as spokesperson for the campaign. Gordly is yet to return a call for comment.

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