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Recall effort against Michele Fiore fails

Updated September 9, 2020 - 3:48 pm

An effort to oust Las Vegas City Councilwoman Michele Fiore from office over “outrageous behavior” ended on Wednesday, as organizers failed to collect the necessary number of signatures to trigger a recall election.

Molly Taylor, founder of Expel Michele, the committee formed to push the recall effort, said that organizers did not collect the needed 1,911 signatures by Wednesday’s deadline, citing difficulties hiring people to walk for signatures amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“I can say we did the best we could given all the circumstances,” she said in a statement. “I won’t discuss all the obstacles we had, just know there were many. I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish, and we have put Michele Fiore and her outrageous behavior on the public stage for everyone to see.”

Taylor did not say how many signatures organizers ultimately collected, but they disclosed in late July, when they were halfway through the 90-day period afforded to reach the mark, that they were more than 1,300 names short.

In a statement, a top aide in Fiore’s office said the recall effort “came to a predictable conclusion.”

“The small group of partisan antagonizers have proven to be out of step with the voters of Ward 6,” said Chance Bonaventura, a special assistant to Fiore. “Their baseless claims against her fall deaf upon the ears of the voters — as they should on the ears of the media.”

The recall effort started June 11 as a response to overall concerns about Fiore’s representation of Ward 6. Specifically she was targeted for racially charged remarks that she is reported to have made during a Clark County Republican Party convention, as well as her support for converting a historic hay barn at Floyd Lamb Park into an event center.

Amid the convention speech controversy, Fiore stepped down as mayor pro tem but claimed it was unrelated to outside pressure, including from fellow Councilman Cedric Crear. She maintained at the time that it was so she could focus on re-electing President Donald Trump in her role as a Nevada GOP national committeewoman.

A renewed recall effort?

Taylor on Wednesday hinted at pursuing another effort to oust Fiore following the November general election and pledged to “work diligently” during Fiore’s re-election campaign in 2022 or if she decides to run for mayor. Taylor also defended her committee against Fiore’s claims that it was seeking signatures fraudulently, and she accused Fiore of threatening recall supporters.

For that reason, Taylor said she would not turn over the signatures she personally collected to the City Clerk’s office in order to protect the identity of people who signed, adding she is willing to face a misdemeanor charge by doing so.

Bonaventura denied that Fiore ever made such threats, but said that her campaign team reached out to petition signers after learning that constituents were being provided “misleading information.” Elected officials facing recall efforts are allowed by law to reach out and request people remove their names.

Fiore told the Las Vegas Review-Journal last month that she would call a news conference to address the recall effort once it ended. It is unclear if it remains the plan.

The recall effort was the second involving the Las Vegas City Council this year: A tepid attempt by other organizers to remove Mayor Carolyn Goodman for her response to the coronavirus pandemic had failed to collect a single signature before organizers decided to suspend it.

Contact Shea Johnson at sjohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.

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