Pima County, Arizona’s Sheriff Clarence Dupnik became a media sensation when he blamed Tea Party and GOP rhetoric for creating the violent atmosphere that may have led to the Tucson massacre. So rather than engage a bit of self-reflection, the teabaggers are calling for his head.
Sheriff Dupnik, who has occupied his post since 1980, won re-election most recently in 2008 with just under 65 percent of the vote. He won’t face voters again until 2012. Perhaps. Fed-up constituents may not have to wait. Arizona is one of 18 states with a broadly worded recall law for public officials. Here’s the key provision in the Arizona Constitution, Article VIII, Part 1: “Every public officer in the state of Arizona, holding an elective office, either by election or appointment, is subject to recall from such office by the qualified electors of the electoral district from which candidates are elected to such office.” If petitioners in Pima County collect 25 percent of the number of votes cast in the last election (about 90,000 would be needed) they can put Sheriff Dupnik on the ballot in a special recall election. In October 2003, California’s voters ousted Gov. Gray Davis in a recall election – a far tougher task.
The Tucson Tea Party’s campaign against Dupnik predates the Giffords tragedy and first began when he refused to enforce Arizona’s racist immigration law.