The recall effort against Newport Beach City Councilman Scott Peotter has apparently fizzled after proponents failed to deliver enough valid petition signatures to force a special election, the Orange County registrar of voters office said Tuesday.
Recall proponents, however, said they will seek a recount.
According to the registrar, proponents submitted 8,339 valid signatures. They needed 8,445, representing 15% of the city’s registered voters.
Recall organizers filed 10,696 signatures on Oct. 27. The county threw out 2,357 as invalid. That includes 205 from signers who requested to have their petition endorsements revoked, said Newport Beach City Clerk Leilani Brown.
Peotter said he’s looking forward to returning to his work as a councilman instead of campaigning to keep his seat, though he does plan to face the voters in the next regular election in November, “which is when it should be,” he said.
“I’m very happy and I’m very thankful,” he said.
Peotter launched a defense by circulating forms asking people who had signed the recall petition to rescind their support for it. Of the 1,783 signature-withdrawal requests he submitted, 205 stuck— a number he said was “miraculous” since he didn’t know for sure whether people who signed his forms had also signed the recall forms.
Recall organizer Susan Skinner said she was disappointed with the outcome but will set up a meeting with the registrar to take another look at the petition signatures. The difference between the number needed and the number deemed valid was 106, or about 1%.
“We are hopeful that of the 2,357 they found to be invalid, 107 of them will be found valid,” she said.
The Committee to Recall Scott Peotter has cited several issues of policy and civility in seeking Peotter’s recall. In addition to his support of the now-scuttled Museum House high-rise condominium project, the group says he has insulted residents and colleagues and makes poor financial decisions for the city, such as his August vote — along with four other council members — to decline the city’s share of state gas tax revenue in protest of the tax.
Peotter has said he’s being targeted for being “politically incorrect” and that policy disagreements should be addressed when he’s up for reelection.