After Dunleavy administration loses recall case in court, judge orders payment of $190,000 legal bill

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks to reporters at a January fundraiser for Stand Tall With Mike, a group that was fighting the effort to recall the governor. (Nat Herz/Alaska Public Media)

An Anchorage Superior Court judge on Thursday ordered Alaska Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration to pay $190,000 in legal fees to the campaign seeking to recall him.

The nine-page ruling from Judge Herman Walker Jr. can be appealed to the Alaska Supreme Court. It comes after Dunleavy’s administration, at the advice of former Attorney General Kevin Clarkson, refused to certify the recall campaign’s application, saying it did not meet legal requirements.

The recall campaign sued and, in a fight that went to the Supreme Court, won the case. The campaign is continuing to gather signatures in an effort to put the recall question on the ballot, but its pace has slowed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

A spokeswoman for the Alaska Department of Law, Maria Bahr, declined to comment, saying the agency was reviewing the ruling.

Nathaniel Herz is an Anchorage-based journalist. He's been a reporter in Alaska for a decade, and is currently reporting for Alaska Public Media. Find more of his work by subscribing to his newsletter, Northern Journal, at Reach him at

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