The state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a petition to recall embattled Spokane Mayor James E. West can proceed.
Shannon Sullivan of Spokane filed the petition in May, shortly after the Spokane Spokesman-Review published articles detailing how West had met men online for sex.
West's attorneys argued that the petition bearing a single abuse-of-office charge was factually and legally insufficient.
Wednesday's ruling upheld a lower court's decision.
The recall petition alleges that West used his elected office for personal gain -- specifically, that West wrote a recommendation letter to help someone he believed to be an 18-year-old man get a City Hall internship. The teenager turned out to be a computer forensics expert hired by the newspaper as part of a journalistic investigation.
Sullivan contends the recommendation implied that the man would get an internship in exchange for sexual favors.
"All I wanted was for the people of Spokane to have a voice," an ecstatic Sullivan said after the ruling. "I don't want to sound pompous, but I knew I was right, and I knew if I stuck with my hard work and didn't let them intimidate me, justice would prevail."
The mayor's attorneys said in a statement that "although we disagree with the outcome, we respect the court's decision."
The ruling means recall supporters can begin collecting the required 12,600 valid signatures after a five-day waiting period, said Sullivan's attorney, Jerry Davis.
But the delay raised questions about whether the petition can be completed in time for the regularly scheduled November vote.
Spokane County Elections Supervisor Paul Brandt said his office would have to receive the petitions no later than Friday to verify the signatures and take other steps to get the recall on the Nov. 8 ballot.
The City Council has unanimously called for West to resign, but council member Joe Shogan said the recall election is a good alternative.