DENVER–The recall drive against Democratic state Sen. Angela Giron won approval Monday as the Secretary of State’s office announced that the petition signatures were sufficient to proceed.
Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler said that proponents had submitted 12,648 valid signatures, or 1,363 more than the 11,285 signatures needed to force a recall election.
The recall group, Pueblo Freedom and Rights, submitted a total of 13,466 signatures on its recall petitions exactly two weeks ago.
“It’s awesome,” said Victor Head, president of Pueblo Freedom and Rights, a plumber who’s leading the recall along with his brother, Adam Head, and Ernest Mascarenas. “I couldn’t be any happier.”
Giron has 15 days to file a protest challenging the petitions. If the protest fails, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper would be responsible for setting an election date, which could fall as early as September or as late the November election.
The Giron recall comes as the second such effort to clear the signature hurdle this month. Last week, Gessler announced that the drive to recall Senate President John Morse (D-Colorado Springs) had submitted about 3,000 more signatures than needed to proceed.
Both Democrats were targeted for recall by gun-rights advocates after the state legislature passed three sweeping gun-control laws in the wake of mass shootings in Colorado and Connecticut. The laws are scheduled to take effect July 1.
Pueblo United for Angela, which is fighting the recall effort, has estimated that a recall election would burden taxpayers with a tab that could hit $250,000.
“A small but vocal group of people are trying to force us all to foot the bill for an expensive taxpayer-funded recall election. All because they don’t agree with Angela’s support of common-sense public safety measures,” says a post on the pro-Giron website.
Recall proponents have called such arguments ironic, given that two Colorado companies that manufacture firearms accessories have announced they plan to relocate in reaction to the gun-control measures, taking with them jobs and tax revenue.
“It’s kind of weird for them to only care about money–I mean, it’s like they’re saying, ‘To hell with freedom and rights and fair elections,’” said Head.
If Giron does file a protest, as expected, Head pointed out that such a challenge would require an expenditure by the Secretary of State.
“I mean, how much money is the Secretary of State’s office going to have to spend?” he said. “I just think it’s a little ridiculous that all of a sudden they care about money.”
The three gun-control measures, signed by the governor in March, would restrict ammunition magazines to 15 rounds; mandate background checks for all sales and transfers, including temporary transfers, and require gun buyers to pay for their own background checks.
A hearing on a lawsuit challenging the first two bills is scheduled for July 10. Opponents have asked for a preliminary injunction against the magazine ban, said David Kopel, the attorney representing a group that includes 55 of 62 Colorado sheriffs in the lawsuit.