An antitax group trying to recall Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn gave up Monday, with a leader saying not enough signatures were gathered to qualify the recall question for ballot position.
Chris Hansen of The Committee to Recall Gov. Guinn said more than 51,000 signatures were gathered - possibly enough for an initiative petition or a referendum, but far short of the 128,109 needed to force a recall vote next year.
The recent recall of former California Gov. Gray Davis "really crucified us," said Hansen. "That was such a circus, such a show, with a stripper, a porn star, Gary Coleman as candidates."
"People thought it would probably be the same here, while in truth it would have been an election to keep or not keep Guinn as governor," Hansen added.
Hansen also said a controversy over locations of signature-gatherers in and around state buildings prompted a would-be contributor to back out of the recall effort - and other possible supporters feared political retribution from the Guinn camp.
Also, the recall effort relied on volunteers to gather signatures, rather than hiring people to collect names.
The recall leaders filed their petition with the secretary of state's office a day ahead of the Tuesday deadline, listing only three names - Hansen, Tony Dane and Ron Wade, all of Las Vegas.
"Many people were afraid of retaliation, so we're not going to have them worry about that," Hansen said. "We just decided we're not giving all the information out."
Guinn questioned whether the recall organizers really had all the names they claimed, saying, "While the small group of people who started this recall said they collected more than 51,000 signatures, that doesn't make it true."
The Republican governor, who supported a record tax increase this year, also said the recall effort failed "because the vast majority of Nevadans support me and the efforts I have made to make Nevada a better place."
The Committee to Recall Gov. Guinn, a group of conservatives from several political parties, was formed in response to Guinn's proposal for more than $1 billion in new and increased taxes. After a divisive legislative session that stretched into two special sessions, Guinn signed into law a record $833.5 million tax package.
Guinn has said he was elected to make difficult decisions for the state and has worked to reduce the size of government in the six years he has been in office. But he said the state faced a critical revenue shortfall this year and the budget had nothing left to cut.
On the Net:
Committee to Recall Guinn: http://www.recallguinn.com
State of Nevada: http://www.nv.gov