DENVER–Two more recall campaigns against Democratic legislators launched Thursday after receiving approval from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.
State Sens. Angela Giron (D-Pueblo) and Evie Hudak (D-Lakewood) become the latest electoral targets of gun-rights advocates incensed over the three gun-control bills passed by the Democratic legislature and signed in March by the governor. Both Giron and Hudak supported the bills.
The efforts bring the number of recalls now underway to four. Groups gathering signatures to oust state Senate President John Morse (D-Colorado Springs) and state Rep. Mike McLachlan (D-Durango) kicked off in late March.
“We’re good to go. I’m having someone sign a petition right now,” said Victor Head, president of Pueblo Freedom and Rights, which is organizing the Giron recall, in a Thursday phone interview. “I’m about to pick up our T-shirts.”
He said his group has already reserved a table at the Tanner Gun Show at the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo, traditionally a hub of gun-rights activity.
“This is a bipartisan effort. Our graphic designer has two Obama stickers on his car,” said Head. “The pushback here is huge. We’re sending a message that we’re not going to take it.”
Meanwhile, the Hudak recall campaign plans to kick off at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Olde Town Arvada Town Square. The campaign needs about 19,000 signatures to force a recall election.
“We can’t make this happen without you, if you love your liberty please show up and support the cause,” said a Thursday post on the Recall State Senator Evie Hudak Facebook page. “OUR VOICES WILL BE HEARD!!!”
Not everyone in the gun-rights camp agrees with the recall route. The Rocky Mountain Gun Owners announced last week its intention to defeat gun-control supporters in swing districts when they come up for reelection in 2014.
“I want payback now, but just like hunting season, there’s a season for political payback, and that’s the election season,” said RMGO executive director Dudley Brown in an April 3 video message. “Let me be clear: We will fill our tags politically.”
Political analysts point out that recalls can be backfire by actually strengthening the recall target if the effort fails.
“While we won’t rule out supporting recalls against those politicians who voted against our gun rights, RMGO-PAC will only get involved if a recall if feasible and there is a coherent long term strategy in mind,” said RMGO operations director Cooper Anderson in an email.
Even if all four of the legislators now facing recall are defeated and replaced by Republicans, Democrats would still hold majorities in both the state House and Senate. No Republican legislators voted for any of the three gun-control bills.
“Recalling only one or two of the gun-grabbers won’t get us a repeal of these bills, which is why we are heavily focused on winning back a pro-gun majority in the 2014 elections,” said Anderson.
Even so, Head said he was optimistic about the Giron recall’s chances. The group needs to gather about 11,500 signatures in 60 days to have the recall placed on the ballot, which could come in November or in a special election called by the governor.
On the group’s side is the anger and intensity of Colorado gun-rights advocates, who have accused Democrats of doing the bidding of the White House and East Coast politicians like New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg without consulting Colorado gun owners.
“I just can’t sit on my hands for 18 months,” said Head. “There are only 19 states that do have the recall, and those that do have a duty to do something.”
In New York, where Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law tough gun-control restrictions in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting in December, voters don’t have the recall option.
“It’s almost a duty in my opinion,” said Head. “We have the ability to do it–people in New York who don’t would be yelling at us if we didn’t. And I think it’s viable.”
Democrats are starting to organize their defense. The El Paso County Democratic Party sent out an email last week decrying the recall against Morse and asking for financial support for an issue committee to fight the effort.
“These Tea Party extremists want to waste hundreds and thousands of dollars on a recall election that Colorado Springs just can’t afford,” said Joel Beck in the email. “Recalls can’t be a tool to disrupt our representation at the Colorado legislature simply because a person disagrees with a particular position.”
Earlier discussion of launching a recall against state Rep. Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora) appears to have petered out, largely because she represents a heavily Democratic district that she won in November with 73 percent of the vote.
That also goes for Gov. John Hickenlooper. Analysts note that a recall against the governor would be statewide and cost millions, money that Republicans say would be better spent running a strong candidate against him when he comes up for reelection in 2014.