DENVER–Senate President John Morse issued a national plea for help to out-of-state supporters from Boston to San Francisco as Colorado Democrats went on the offensive Tuesday to save him from a recall vote.
A spokeswoman for A Whole Lot of People for John Morse announced Tuesday that a protest had been filed to nullify the recall petitions within hours after the Colorado Secretary of State’s office declared that the petitions were sufficient to force a recall election.
Meanwhile, Morse urged out-of-state supporters to help him keep his Colorado Springs legislative seat by donating their money and time.
“[A]ny help that you can give us in fundraising or in volunteering, even from around the country, truthfully,” said Morse in a video message. “We can get phone lists to you and things like that and have you help from Boston, Massachusetts, or from San Francisco, California. So thanks for all that you’ve done so far and thanks for all that you’re going to do as we move forward to take on this tiger.”
The message, posted Monday on the Facebook page A Whole Lot of People for John Morse, underscores the national prominence of the recall fight, which is being viewed as a referendum on gun rights.
Paul Paradis, one of the recall organizers, accused Morse of trying to combat the will of those living in the Colorado Springs district with out-of-state interest groups.
“He’s trying to get other states to run this district, pure and simple,” said Paradis. “We want someone who’s going to represent our side of town, not Los Angeles, not New York.”
His group, the El Paso Freedom Defense Committee, warned in a Facebook post that, “Morse has the money and the political machine, we have the people.”
“Make no mistake, this is the front-line of a national battle,” said the Tuesday post. “DC is watching to see what happens here. There is a reason the DC-based Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee has joined Morse to fight against us here in Colorado.”
The Morse campaign’s first line of defense is to avoid a recall election. The protest filed Tuesday contends that the petitions are void because they failed to include a demand for the election of a successor, as required by the Colorado Constitution.
“The Constitution is clear, just as the courts are clear: no recall petition is valid without this specific language,” said Mark Grueskin, who represents the constituent filing the protest. “This requirement makes sense. After all, these recall proponents held out the bait of a recall of Sen. Morse without alerting petition signers to what comes next–an expensive election to designate a successor for just one year.”
Paradis, the owner of Paradise Sales in Colorado Springs, said he wasn’t surprised by the protest.
“We all knew they were going to challenge something,” said Paradis. “I think the courts are going to look at it like a technicality. But I think the will of the people speaks for itself.”
The Secretary of State’s office announced Tuesday that the recall committee had submitted 10,137 valid signatures, well in excess of the 7,178 needed to qualify for the recall ballot. The committee submitted more than 16,000 signatures two weeks ago.
“Barring a successful protest, at the conclusion of the protest period, the governor will be responsible for setting an election date,” said Secretary of State Scott Gessler in a statement. “The election date will be held between 45-75 days from the end of the protest period.”
Speculation is rife that Morse may resign, but recall organizers said in their Tuesday post that they expect him to fight for his seat.
“Unless Morse is offered some political prize, we expect him to fight,” said the Facebook post. “He thinks everyone likes what he does and is shocked and amazed when anyone dares question his actions. We dare and we do.”