Thursday, June 20, 2013

Colorado Democrats Facing Recall Over Gun Control Votes

In a first for the state of Colorado, State Senate president John Morse will face a recall after challengers submitted more than 10,000 signatures- more than enough to trigger a recall of a sitting state Senator under Colorado law.

The challenge was mounted by gun rights advocates after the Colorado Springs Democrat voted in favor of new gun control measures that were signed into law by Gov John Hickenlooper earlier this year.
Secretary of State Scott Gessler said the El Paso Freedom Defense Committee had gathered 10,137 valid signatures, well in excess of the 7,178 needed to qualify for the recall ballot. The recall committee submitted more than 16,000 signatures two weeks ago.

The recall has drawn national attention as a referendum on gun control in the aftermath of two mass shootings last year in Connecticut and Colorado.

Mr. Morse, a Colorado Springs Democrat, released a statement Monday on his Facebook page asking for out-of-state help from those in traditionally liberal cities to help fight the recall effort.

“We can get phone lists to you and things like that and have you help from Boston, Massachusetts, or San Francisco, California,” said Mr. Morse in a video message. “So thanks for all that you’ve done and thanks for all that you’re going to do as we move forward to take on this tiger.”

Mr. Morse has 15 days to challenge the signatures, but if his protest fails, the governor will be charged with setting a recall election date between 45 and 75 days from the end of the protest period.

Mr. Morse could also avoid a recall fight by resigning his seat, which would permit a Democratic vacancy committee to appoint a successor. Democrats control both houses of the state Legislature.
While Morse may be the highest ranking Democrat to face recall due to the state's new gun laws, he isn't alone. Organizers have turned in what they hope will be enough signatures to mount a challenge against another Democrat- state Senator Angela Giron from Pueblo.

Shortly before the deadline, a number of people holding signs supporting Giron were videotaped receiving cash from an individual circulating among the crowd before talking to Giron herself. The Giron campaign denied any knowledge of the payments or the individual and accused the recall petitioners of a 'setup'. However after video was played on an NBC affiliate in Denver, the money man was identified as 72 year old Gerald Rosenblatt of Colorado Springs- and a donor to Giron's group, Pueblo United for Angela.

Colorado was one of the few states outside the northeast to enact new gun control laws in the wake of the Sandy Hook school massacre in Newtown, CT or the Aurora, CO theater shooting. Shortly after its passage, most of Colorado's county sheriff's filed a lawsuit seeking to block the laws from going into effect saying many of the provisions are unenforceable and enforcing compliance would divert money and manpower that was sorely lacking.

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