We previously warned a recall election against Apache Junction Mayor John Insalaco and the City Council didn't make much sense, and now organizers have made the issue especially messy.
The timing of a successful petition drive against Insalaco, Vice Mayor R.E. Eck and council members Robin Barker, Richard Dietz and Jeff Serdy means the recall election will be held on the exact same ballot as Apache Junction's regularly scheduled March primary, Tribune writer Sonu Munshi reported Monday. Perhaps an argument could be made for attempting to recall Barker and Serdy, as they would remain in office otherwise until 2011.
But Insalaco, Eck and Dietz must stand in the primary and their critics had a clear opportunity to run these politicians out of office, if there are serious candidates willing to take up the cause.
Because that's how recall elections work in Arizona. You don't just vote to keep or to toss out the incumbent. Candidates must compete for ballots and voters could easily decide that, even if they aren't happy with the current crop of leaders, a recall's challengers would be even worse.
Recall candidates in Apache Junction will have to qualify for both the special and primary ballots; otherwise the incumbents could still return to the job in just three months if they lost the recall vote.
It's going to get perplexing for Apache Junction voters and it's bound to drive up expenses for all of the council candidates and for the taxpayers who have to pay for two simultaneous elections.
Ignoring those concerns might be justified if these council members were stealing from the city treasury or somehow completely destroying Apache Junction's good name. But the recall is a mixture of honest differences in policy matters and petty in-fighting.
Regardless of what happens, we can't imagine dueling recall and primary elections will resolve any of Apache Junction's issues.