Boise comedian Pete Peterson said his third attempt to gather 158,000 signatures and force a recall vote depends on whether Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna and Gov. Butch Otter attempt to re-enact the laws widely rejected by voters in November.
"If Butch and Luna reintroduce the three Luna laws or some variation of those it could generate another firestorm that would eclipse anything that happened in 2011," Peterson said Tuesday.
Both Otter and Luna have said there are aspects of the laws they will seek to revive during the 2013 Legislature, but neither has been specific.
If their aims are modest — for example paying for high school students to earn college credits — Peterson said he will drop the recall idea.
"Then, this thing will fizzle," Peterson said. "We're prepared either way. We'll reevaluate things at the end of January."
Luna, should he seek a third four-year term, would be on the May 2014 primary ballot.
The Idaho Education Association, which led the effort to overturn the laws by rejecting Propositions 1, 2 and 3, is not taking a position on any possible recall, said IEA President Penni Cyr. The IEA focused on gathering signatures in 2011 to put the propositions on the ballot and discouraged members from expending effort on a recall.
"It's not about a recalling a person," Cyr said Tuesday. "It's about the laws, about what's needed and having the right voices at the table."
Cyr said IEA wants to participate in a new consensus on reform, but that the 2013 session is too soon for new laws. "We believe it will take time, not something that's pushed through this Legislature."
Were the Legislature to largely reenact the 2011 laws in 2013, would IEA back a recall? "It would take our members to decide that," Cyr said.
Peterson filed paperwork last week with the Idaho Secretary of State, naming himself treasurer of the 2013 Luna Recall Committee. Peterson said the committee has five members, but he declined to name any others. Should the effort proceed, Peterson said the group would hire a "much more competent campaign manager" than himself.
Peterson said he'll be hosting a campaign kickoff Dec. 27 at Boise's Liquid Laughs. The comedy club's website says the headliners that night are Myles Weber and Tom Devenport. Peterson said he's opening for Weber and Devenport.
Before collecting signatures in earnest, petitioners must submit petition language to the Secretary of State, along with signatures of 20 registered voters. They then have 75 days to collect 158,107 signatures from registered voters. Depending on when that job was completed, the election could be held May 21 or Nov. 5.
To remove the Republican Luna from office would require clearing a still-higher hurdle in an off-year election with no other statewide contests on the ballot. Ousting Luna would take 268,852 votes, the number he received in his 2010 re-election when he defeated Democrat Stan Olson by a 60.5 percent to 39.5 percent margin.
The first recall Peterson worked on after Luna's school reforms were passed by the 2011 Legislature fell more than 100,000 signatures short, organizers said in June 2011, though they did not submit signatures.
Peterson made a second attempt in 2011, but dropped it. "It never really got off the ground," he said Tuesday.
Peterson also ran for governor as a Republican in 2010, finishing fourth in a six-way race Otter won with 54.6 percent of the vote. Peterson had 5.2 percent.
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