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Denton council member fighting to stay in office despite recall election

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Kevin Baird via Flickr
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Denton residents voted on Tuesday to recall Denton Council Member Alison Maguire.

A majority of voters were in favor of recalling Denton Council Member Alison Maguire. But her fight to stay in office may not be over.

Maguire is the District 4 council member and was elected in May 2021. She posted a controversial meme of a Black man being shot on Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year.

Richard Gladden, Maguire's attorney, said "the only reason for the recall was "Alison's vote to alter the city's voting districts...so that students at UNT would have a fair chance to elect a city council member."

Gladden said the meme was directed at Denton Council member Chris Watts, "who supported eliminating public bus service in Denton."

He said the meme was "created by a nationally active African-American comedian concerning a wholly unrelated topic." Maguire's alternation, he said, was aimed at "locally characterizing" what he described as Watts' "obsession with eliminating bus service in Denton."

He said what Maguire posted was not authentically viewed as racially insensitive by people who saw it.

Former Denton City Council Member Don Duff and others started a petition for her recall. The petition got enough signatures and was verified. Almost 65% of voters were in favor of recalling Maguire.

Duff told The Denton Record Chronicle that the primary reason behind the petition was a Facebook post that included the meme.

He sent a page that detailed his reasoning for pushing for a recall to the DRC, which led with "Publishing a video showing a man shooting a black man."

A list lower on the page also criticized Maguire for issues, including supporting fines for failing to comply with mask mandates, advocating to remove police authority "to cite for 1/2 or less of marijuana" and voting to give the CEO of the Denton County Transit Authority a raise "even with poor ridership on train & bus..."

Duff also criticized Maguire for voting "against funding the economic development fund" and her stand on redistricting.

The city council has to certify the vote on Maguire's recall. Gladden said he believes that won’t happen.

“I believe that they will not be able to get four votes to certify the results of the recall election. And as a consequence, Alison will stay in office,” Gladden said.

The Denton City Council is expected to certify Tuesday’s election results in the upcoming weeks.

Got a tip? Email Mya Nicholson at  mnicholson@kera.org.

Mya Nicholson reports for KERA's government accountability team. She studies broadcast journalism at the University of North Texas.

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Mya Nicholson reports for KERA News as an intern assigned to KERA's government accountability team. She studies broadcast journalism at the University of North Texas.