Friday, June 3, 2022

Minnesota: Two Harbors Mayor recall scheduled for August 9

The recall election of Two Harbors Mayor Chris Swanson has been scheduled on August 9 (Primary Day), with Swanson saying that he will not resign. Petitioners handed in 618 signatures and have 532 valids, they needed 498. 

Petitioners previously gathered signatures, claiming they had 970 signatures for the recall, but they pulled those petitions over a lawsuit that would have removed the anonymity for any signers. The suit sought to require the signatures be revealed. 

The recall is seemingly over claims that Swanson used a podcast to discuss an underwater hotel in Lake Superior, thereby using his title as mayor to attract investors, and plans to fund city projects with cryptocurrency. 

There is a separate suit by a Republican County official asking the recall to be tossed out over Minnesota's strict malfeasance standard/judicial recall rules, which has led nearly all petitions (but one!) that I've seen have been rejected at that stage. The City Attorney wrote an opinion that he used the position for personal benefit, which could allow them to overcome the malfeasance standard. Interesting provision in the charter -- if there are less than two years in the term, the council appoints a replacement. If there are more, than there is a special election. In this case, there will be a replacement appointed.

Update: A district court judge has thrown out an attempt to toss the recall. 

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