Midtown Assembly Member Zaletel Defeats Far-Right Recall Effort

Recall Zaletel Star of David
Photo courtesy: HrrrlScouts

In a press release issued this morning, Assembly member Meg Zaletel declared victory over the recall effort that was brought against her by the far-right group, Save Anchorage.

Zaletel has been the subject of hate and vitriol by those who oppose the politics of the Assemblywoman and saw her name emblazoned on antisemitic faux Stars of David that were distributed in the Assembly Chambers last month by Christine Hill, a listed deputy treasurer of the group who had sought to recall her. Former Chair of the Anchorage Assembly Felix Rivera, who faced and defeated an attempt to recall him in April, said in June that the recall effort to recall him was a “homophobic attempt to take out an Assembly member.”

According to the most recent election results, the Zaletel Recall is failing by nearly 20 points. I didn’t think proponents of the recall could have done worse than they did when they attempted to recall Felix Rivera, but there it is. Clearly, voters are a lot more informed than political activists believe them to be and there’s an argument to be made that recalls only galvanize support for the politician being recalled.

You can read Zaletel’s press release below.

(Anchorage, AK) – Today, Midtown Assembly Member Zaletel defeated a recall effort that was brought forward by the far-right group, Save Anchorage. 

The recall alleged that Zaletel had violated COVID-19 restrictions for indoor gatherings when two additional people were allowed in the Assembly meeting that she did not chair. However, contrary to their stated complaint, the recall campaign was largely driven by messaging alleging that COVID-19 restrictions were unnecessary and hurting Anchorage.

“It’s reassuring to know that the majority of our community supports our work to decrease the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate the long-term economic impacts,” said Zaletel. “These steps we have taken as a community have always been with the larger goal of coming together to beat back the pandemic, support those who had been harmed, and get our economy back on track as quickly as possible. I hope that these numbers showing that the majority of Midtown residents support the work will urge those who have been unwilling to join their friends and neighbors to take reasonable and responsible action to take a moment to reconsider.” 

Like the unsuccessful attempt to recall Felix Rivera earlier this year, the recall campaign forced the Municipality to spend tens of thousands of dollars to run a special election, just a few months before Zaletel was up for re-election.

“When you look at the amount of money that was spent on this baseless recall attempt, it’s really disheartening,” said Zaletel. “This group forced the  Municipality to hold a special election, which cost hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. Then consider all of the individuals who contributed to the campaigns. If that money had been put into supporting those who lost income during COVID-19, rather than a dog and pony show to protest wearing paper masks…we could have made a real difference.”

The ballots will be certified on November 9th, and while there are still some outstanding ballots that were mailed at the last minute, it would be nearly impossible for the split to shift so much that the recall would go through.

When asked what comes next, Zaletel stated: “I’ve been working hard for  Anchorage during this Recall. I plan to continue working hard for Anchorage. Now I can just drive my daughter to school without her seeing hateful signs with my name and an unflattering photo.”