Freshman Assemblyman Willard H. Murray (D-Paramount) predicted this week that Republicans would fail if they mount an effort to recall him.
“I don’t think they have any chance of success,” Murray said.
The state Republican Party announced last week that it has set aside $110,000 to study the feasibility of recalling Murray and Assemblyman Ted Lempert (D-San Mateo).
In a prepared statement, Frank Visco, state GOP Party chairman, said Murray and Lempert have “serious ethical and moral shortcomings. . . . “
Since he unseated Assemblyman Paul E. Zeltner (R-Lakewood) last November, Murray has been dogged by controversy. Among other things, his campaign has been criticized for sending out allegedly unauthorized endorsement letters, including one from the National Rifle Assn. The gun lobby has asked Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Ira Reiner to investigate the endorsement letter, which the NRA says was altered and mailed without the group’s consent.
Among the GOP’s complaints, Visco cited questions about the endorsements and about Murray’s truthfulness. He pointed out that during the campaign, Murray admitted that he had not graduated from UCLA, despite claims in his campaign literature that he had received a degree in mathematics there.
In an interview, Murray said: “It seems that every time an officeholder does something someone doesn’t like, people jump up and yell ‘Recall.’ ” But, he vowed, “I’m not going to be intimidated.”
Murray suggested that the Republican effort was prompted by Democratic plans to stage a recall of Assemblyman Curt Pringle (R-Garden Grove), who won his seat last November by fewer than 900 votes after a bitter campaign.
Democrats are upset because the Orange County Republican Party posted uniformed security guards at 20 largely Latino Santa Ana precincts in Pringle’s district on Election Day. The issue has provided a powerful rallying point for Orange County Democrats, who won support for the recall effort at the state Democratic Party convention last month.
Murray said he did not take the Pringle recall seriously and that he opposes any attempt to recall his Republican colleague. Murray said any opposition to him or Pringle should take place during regular election campaigns.
As of Wednesday morning, no recall petitions had been taken out against Murray, according to the secretary of state’s office. Once papers are taken out, a recall committee has 160 days to collect 18,733 signatures or 20% of the total vote cast in the last election in the 54th District.
The last successful recall of a state legislator was in 1914, according to the secretary of state’s office.