Recall campaign against Weiler fizzles without signatures

Recall campaign against Weiler fizzles without signatures

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A recall campaign against Bismarck state Rep. David Weiler, which began after his second arrest on a charge that he assaulted his estranged wife, has fallen short of the signatures needed to remove him from office.

The effort obtained close to half of the 1,902 signatures it needed to force a new election for Weiler, organizer Kris Kitko said. The campaign was halted because of anonymous email messages and website postings that Kitko considered threatening to volunteers who supported the effort.

"It's not worth putting people's lives and livelihood in danger," Kitko said. "It was just too risky to people. They are citizens, they are not professional politicians."

Kitko said none of the statements were specific enough to merit reporting to the police, and said volunteers working on the campaign were reluctant to pursue the matter.

The recall petition was certified March 29, 2010, about two weeks after Weiler was arrested a second time on a charge that he assaulted his wife, Nicole Weiler.

The charge was dismissed in July 2010 after a prosecutor said Weiler's wife had recanted her allegations. Nicole Weiler initially claimed her husband had punched her in the face.

Recall supporters had one year from the day the petition was certified to gather the needed names. The campaign officially ended Tuesday when the year limit for collecting signatures was reached.

Weiler said he was pleased his constituents had "chosen to place their continued trust in me."

"Unfortunately, I was the victim of a false allegation, however the physical and circumstantial facts did come out and exonerate me," Weiler said. "Hopefully, in the future, none of us will be in a hurry to rush to judgment in these or any types of cases."

The 46-year-old Weiler's current term ends in December 2012. He declined comment Friday about whether he would seek re-election.

A Republican, Weiler represents District 30, which includes parts of south Bismarck, adjacent areas of rural Burleigh County and the city of Lincoln. He was first elected to the House in 2000, and serves as vice chairman of the House Transportation Committee.

Weiler was first arrested for simple assault in March 2009. He admitted pushing his wife to the ground during an argument.

Weiler pleaded guilty, was given a one-year deferred sentence and was put on unsupervised probation. He was ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation and counseling.

After his second arrest, in March 2010, Weiler insisted he was innocent and refused requests that he resign, including one from then-Gov. John Hoeven, for whom Nicole Weiler worked as an aide.

Kitko, who is a folk singer, wrote songs about Weiler's arrest and some of the hate mail she received because of the recall campaign. She said she had no interest in challenging Weiler should he seek re-election.

"We are hoping he doesn't run again. That would make things, I suppose, easier," she said.

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