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Group plans to turn in signatures to oust Rapid City alderman

RAPID CITY (AP) -- Organizers of a campaign to recall a South Dakota alderman accused of making racially insensitive remarks to a black TV reporter say they have more than enough valid signatures and plan to turn them in Friday.

Recall leader and former Rapid City councilman Gary Brown said the group collected about 7,000 signatures calling for the ouster of current Councilman Bill Clayton. About 6,200 names were needed for the recall, which would force a special election.

Clayton took Brown's seat when he retired. If the recall is successful, Brown said he intends to run against Clayton.

Clayton allegedly suggested during a telephone interview that the TV reporter be deported to Kenya. The alderman said he was not aware of the reporter's race and publicly apologized.

Clayton tells the Rapid City Journal that the reporter's account and ensuing coverage has not been accurate.

"I have said all along, this is what happens when you try to hoist a lie up the flag pole," Clayton said.

The city council had investigated complaints over the August 2012 interview, but declined to take action against the alderman.

Clayton said he'll be checking the signatures to make sure they're valid. Brown said he's preparing for that.

"When they come in to try and tear us apart," Brown said, "hopefully it will be enough."