COLO. SPRINGS – The recall elections of Democrats Senate President John Morse of Colorado Springs and Senator Angela Giron of Pueblo have been snarled in legal challenges – one resulted in granting more time for replacement candidates like Libertarian January “Jan” Brooks to petition onto the ballot.
Brooks had hoped to have her name printed on the ballot with Republican Bernie Herpin as candidates to replace Morse if he is recalled by voters on Sept. 10. Though Brooks had collected 834 petition signatures, Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s office deemed only 408 are valid – short of the 575 required. Brooks has the option to be a write-in candidate.
Senate District 3 voters have the options of recalling Giron and electing Republican George Rivera. Democrat candidate Richard Anglund, a gun rights advocate, fell short of the 1,000 Democrat voter signatures to petition onto the ballot. Anglund notified the Secretary of State’s office that he will instead be a write-in candidate.
The Colorado Supreme Court issued a ruling Tuesday in another legal hurdle for the recall elections. The Court determined that the requirement that voters must cast a vote on the recall question in order to have their vote counted for a successor candidate conflicts with the Constitution.
Like Herpin in SD 11, Brooks campaigned on her support for 2nd Amendment rights, less government, lower taxes and fiscal spending restraint. But the two seemed to differ on social issues – particularly same-sex marriage which Brooks supports.
“I am fiscally conservative and socially liberal,” said Brooks, a 31-year-old internet auto sales specialist.
During an appearance last week on KVOR’s Richard Randall show, Brooks was asked her views on social issues. Randall told the Libertarian candidate that “a lot of Republicans think civil unions is a stepping stone to gay marriage” though not all.
“I’m proud that civil unions legislation passed,” declared Brooks of the bill’s passage in Colorado this year.
“I don’t necessarily believe in special rights for any group regardless of race, sex, age, color, origin, ethnicity, creed, religion, disability, orientation gender, marital status, pregnancy – anything,” she said.
“I believe in marriage inclusive of all, no matter what that means,” said Brooks. “Humans have the right to love.”
According to her campaign website, Brooks married Amanda Garcia, an artist and poet, in Washington last year. Brooks had focused her campaign efforts largely in Manitou Springs which is generally viewed as a more Libertarian type of voter – fiscally conservative and socially liberal.
Brooks said that Morse “has lost his focus” – ramming gun-control bills through the Senate, ignoring his constituents’ complaints and scheduling hearings on seven measures in two committees in one day.
Christy Le Lait of a Whole Lot of People for John Morse countered that gun-control “bills were not rushed through the legislative process.”
“As Senate president, John Morse does indeed set the agenda,” wrote Le Lait on the Morse defense campaign website. But, she said “all legislators were given the necessary time to review and debate the bills prior to voting.”
Le Lait didn’t mention the hundreds of citizens – including county sheriffs – who were denied the right to testify against the gun-control laws. The issue of gun rights led to the recall of Morse – and petitions were signed by Republican, Democrat, Libertarian and unaffiliated voters in SD 11.
“John Morse broke our trust,” declared El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa in a mailer this week denouncing Morse and endorsing Herpin.
The mailer, paid for by the Colorado Republican Committee, cites ethics complaints lodged against Morse in 2010 and 2011, votes for gun-control bills and against tougher laws on criminals and child sex predators.
The Colorado Springs Police Protective Association also cited those issues in robocalls to 17,000 households imploring SD 11 citizens to vote “yes” to recall Morse and choose Herpin to fill the seat.
“One of my biggest complaints is that my child goes to a school that has a sign that says it’s a gun-free zone,” said Brooks. “Of all places that we should not have a gun-free zone is a school.”
Under Morse’s leadership, a Democrat-controlled Senate committee killed a bill to allow school teachers and administrators to carry permitted handguns. A resolution to encourage school districts to set policy for armed security finally passed by House – but it was never heard in the Senate.