State Sen. Harri Anne Smith, District 2, isn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet.
Smith, who was disqualified from running for re-election as a Republican, is attempting to gain enough petition signatures to run in this year’s election as an independent candidate.
The drive for signatures started Saturday, with locations set up at 20 spots throughout the district to garner support for the cause.
“We got people from all over the Senate district to help us,” said Gayla White, who chaired the campaign, called Take Back Our Vote. “When she got removed from the opportunity to run as a Republican on the ballot, we talked that weekend, and I told her if there was anything I could do to help her, I was there.”
Smith said she’s been informed by the Secretary of State’s office she needs about 1,000 signatures to gain independent status, but she’s aiming for more.
“We’re assuming about 1,500, because you need a few more than you’re required to do,” she said. “There were some people from outside the district who signed Saturday. There were lines of people waiting to sign it, but the only people who can be counted for signing are from District 29, registered voters. Then we have to turn it into the Secretary of State’s office, and they match it to the voter file to make sure they are registered voters.”
Turnout at each of the 20 locations was heavy Saturday, according to both White and Smith.
“It was very well received,” White said. “Before we could even get open in some areas, we had people already lining up to sign. I was very impressed. I think we did what we needed to do, and the response was great.”
Smith said she’s pleased with the response, and she’s hoping for more.
“I visited lots of those locations, and they each looked very busy with great responses,” she said. “From all indications, there was great feedback, and I’m just excited a lot of people were very helpful in coming out to sign the petition. I have a campaign headquarters office at 366 Westgate Parkway that opened back before I was disqualified from the Republican ballot. The office is open from 9 (a.m.) to 5 (p.m.) Monday through Friday, and we’d love for people to come by that weren’t able to come by Saturday and sign it.”
While neither White nor Smith had estimates for exactly how many signatures were collected Saturday, White said final tallies should be collected by Wednesday.
By Greg Phillips
Published: May 2, 2010