COLO. SPRINGS – Republican candidates Jaxine Bubis and Bernie Herpin have agreed that only one candidate should be on the ballot to recall and replace Democrat Senate President John Morse. The two signed a proposal to have a Republican vacancy committee cast ballots to select the party’s nominee on July 9.
“Many minds, many discussions, and many compromises went into this precedent-setting process, and I want to thank the SD11 precinct leaders and officers, my fellow El Paso County Republican Party officers, our state party chairman, and the candidates and campaign managers who have selflessly and courageously decided to take on this task,” said county GOP Chairman Jeff Hays.
“I am committed to recall John Morse – Morse failed us,” said Herpin, a former Colorado Springs City Councilman, in a statement. “That’s why I have agreed to the proposed party process.”
Daniel Cole, director of county GOP operations, said a meeting of SD 11 Republican precinct leaders was held May 29 to discuss the proposed process and was reviewed by the party Executive Committee on June 5. He said the goal was to construct “a fair, open and reasonable process to maximize our strength.”
The original proposal had included the entire SD 11 GOP Central Committee, but was changed last week to exclude bonus members and elected officials, according to a source close to the negotiations.
“While I would have preferred a more inclusive process like a full primary or some other mechanism to give at least all duly-elected Republicans who reside in Senate District 11 a voice in this selection, we must move forward quickly to ensure that we get John Morse out of office,” said Herpin. “I am looking forward to proving to the precinct leaders of SD 11 that I will be the best standard bearer for our party.”
Cole said the recall endorsement election, which conforms to party bylaws, will allow the SD 11 chair, vice chair, secretary and precinct leaders to cast ballots from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 9.
It appears that the party’s endorsement election will be held before the Secretary of State’s office has validated the candidates’ petitions to access the ballot. The petitions, which must be signed by at least 1,000 registered voters in the district, are due July 12. Cole anticipates both candidates will reach that goal.
The agreement, signed by both candidates, states that the county GOP will endorse the winner of the party election. The candidate with the lower vote tally will exit the race.
El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams has asked Gov. John Hickenlooper to approve Aug. 27 for the Morse recall and replacement election in SD 11. The ballot will ask voters if they wish to recall Morse, and to vote for a replacement candidate. They must vote on the recall question in order to have their vote counted for a replacement candidate.
Morse supporters filed a legal challenge to nullify the recall petitions signed by more than 10,000 voters in the district. The Secretary of State’s office is expected to make a ruling on Wednesday, but that could be appealed to a district court.
The Democrat’s supporters, A Whole Lot of People for Morse, announced its intention to file another complaint this week, challenging the validity of about 50 signatures which they claim were forged.
Meanwhile Bubis and Herpin are walking precincts to obtain signatures on their candidacy petitions – and collecting endorsements.
Herpin’s list of endorsements include Paul Paradis of Pikes Peak Firearms Coalition, El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa, CU Regent Kyle Hybl, state Reps. Mark Waller and Bob Gardner, former state Sens. Andy McElhany and Ed Jones, former state Reps. Larry Liston and Bill Sinclair, County Treasurer Bob Balink and County Commissioner Sallie Clark – all of Colorado Springs.
Bubis is backed by the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners PAC and Republicans Sens. Kent Lambert and Owen Hill, former Sen. Dave Schultheis and Rep. Janak Joshi, all of Colorado Springs. Other supporters include Republicans Sens. Vicki Marble of Fort Collins and Ted Harvey of Highlands Ranch, and Reps. Chris Holbert of Parker, Justin Everett of Littleton and Steve Humphrey of Severence.