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Denham prepares for recall battle

The countdown keeps ticking. The signatures to put a recall of state Sen. Jeff Denham on the ballot are in the midst of being verified and an official committee to oust the local representative has been formed.

The recall campaign is closing in on the halfway mark to send the matter to voters. A third of the 61,598 signatures checked show that they have 40 percent of the number needed so far.Since February, the Secretary of State’s Office has been releasing daily counts of the signatures verified by the five counties in District 12 represented by Denham, R-Merced. The deadline to report the totals is April 1.

In the meantime, Denham’s camp is preparing for a battle to keep the Atwater Republican in office. The state senator is raising money, hiring workers and ready to launch a mid-term campaign.

“We’re getting ready to kick some butt,” Denham’s Sacramento adviser Tim Clark said Thursday. “We are not going to take anything for granted.”

The recall, which started out quietly with “Dump Denham” signs posted around Merced and other cities, has been spearheaded by Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, who was upset that Denham refused to vote for the 2007/2008 budget.