Hurtado Recall Fails to Qualify. She Enters Not Guilty DUI Plea
Kingsburg Councilwoman Jewel Hurtado will not face a recall election next year after Fresno County Clerk James Kus said Friday morning there weren’t enough qualifying signatures.
“I’m glad to learn that Kingsburg tax payers will not be forced to waste $90,000 in a special election to remove me from office. I will continue to do the work that I was elected to do and serve the city that I love for the remainder of my term,” Hurtado said by text message.
Hurtado Pleads Not Guilty in DUI Case
The news of the recall failure comes as Hurtado had a scheduled court date for a June DUI arrest.
Hurtado, through her attorney Robert Lamanuzzi, pleaded not guilty at her arraignment Friday morning. The case has been set for a pre-trial hearing on Jan. 11.
The California Highway Patrol arrested Hurtado on June 21, 2021, in Fresno. The Fresno County District Attorney’s office charged her with three counts — two counts of driving under the influence and one for driving over 65 miles per hour.
44 Signatures Short
Recall proponents turned in 423 signatures, needing 354 to force a recall election of the Kingsburg councilwoman. Kus said only 310 met the requirements. Reasons for not accepting signatures included those who were not registered to vote, or registered in a different district, or information on the petition was incomplete.
Kus had until Nov. 8 to verify the signatures but finished early.
Proponents have 21 days to review the petition. Lance Jackson, a proponent spokesman, said he plans to do so.
“Of course, we want to take advantage of our opportunity to review and examine the petition documents to verify the validity of of the certification,” Jackson said.
Hurtado, first elected in 2018, has not announced whether she will run again next year. The filing period opens next July for the November 2022 election.
Jackson says his group plans to be involved.
“There are potential candidates in line to take our position, and then when the time comes up, they’ll be filing their paperwork,” Jackson said.
Reasons for Recall Attempt
A grassroots group collected signatures in the summer attempting to remove Hurtado from office.
Hurtado has been very open about her progressive political views. She actively supported Bernie Sanders during the 2020 presidential primary and campaigned against the recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom.
In the notice of intent, recall proponents say Hurtado “demonstrated a Marxist/socialist agenda in her activities and actions, which do not represent her constituency.”
Hurtado supporters questioned the motive of the recall, speculating that it had more to do with her support of LGBT rights.
In June, Hurtado proposed flying the rainbow flag at Kingsburg City Hall, but the motion did not receive a vote. Hurtado is a member of the LGBT community.