SAN DIEGO -- Activists attempting to oust then-Mayor Bob Filner appear to have been well on their way to qualifying for a recall election, according to information released Friday.
In less than six days, the recall movement had gathered 37,517 petition signatures toward the 101,597 threshold necessary to force a recall election.
After six days, the movement still had 33 days left to gather signatures. If it had fallen short, it could have gotten an extension from the city clerk.
The recall movement was halted when the City Council on Aug. 23 approved a deal to essentially swap Filner’s resignation for a promise to pay his legal expenses in a sexual-harassment lawsuit filed by his former director of communications.
Michael Pallamary, chairman of the recall movement, said the “high number of signatures, gathered in less than week, illustrates the overwhelming public support for the recall.”
If the recall had qualified for the ballot, it would have been the first mayoral recall in San Diego history. Six other attempts in previous decades had failed to qualify.
Although 101,597 signatures were required, more than that number probably would been needed because many of those who would have signed the petitions either would have lived outside the city or would not be registered to vote, according to political consultants.
Along with the signatures, the recall movement committee raised more than $90,000 and spent $50,000, according to its treasurer, April Boling. After paying expenses, about $40,000 will be returned to donors who contributed more than $50, she said.
If a recall election had been held, it would have involved two issues: whether to recall Filner and which candidate to select as his successor for the final three years of his term.
With his resignation, the council set a special election for Nov. 19. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in that contest, a runoff will be held between the two top vote-getters, probably in January or February.
In the meantime, City Council President Todd Gloria is serving as acting mayor.