DENVER — With three weeks left before the recall election, state Sen. Angela Giron (D-Pueblo) faces significant hurdles as she struggles to retain her seat, according to supporters of the recall effort.
For months, liberal groups have stuck their noses up at the possibility of gathering the required signatures to prompt an election, or of the thought of newcomer George Rivera winning in the heavily Democratic district.
But according to Victor Head, one of the three citizen-plumbers turned part-time politicos leading the Pueblo recall effort, “Our poll numbers are looking good. Everything seems to be decent. Her message doesn’t seem to be working.”
August voter registration numbers on the Secretary of State’s website show that Democrats hold a 2-1 advantage, nearly 38,000 to 19,000. Unaffiliated registrants account for 24,000 while third parties round account for less than 1,000 active voters.
However, analysts point out that the first-term lawmaker is beginning to show her vulnerability while retired law enforcement officer George Rivera is finding his political stride.
Pollster Floyd Ciruli said on his blog, “a likely low turnout affair the week after Labor Day” while “cranky Democrats will be augmented by motivated Republicans” means Giron “is in trouble.”
Aside from her relative inexperience and short time in office, Ciruli also points to the Republican stronghold of Pueblo West in her district, Giron’s identification with the “aggressive liberal wing” of her party, and the reason for the recall in the first place: Many Pueblo constituents categorize her support of this year’s radical gun legislation as a step too far.
“Pueblo, especially men, hunt and own guns” Ciruli concluded.
Outsiders also note that Giron is at risk of creating a David versus Goliath narrative as national leaders like Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Debbie Wasserman-Schultz weigh in on the race.
In an August 12 blog post titled “The Worst Election You’ve Never Heard Of”, Wasserman-Schultz suggests that the recall election clouds the democratic process.
“…[I]nstead of waiting until the next election (which is only a little more than a year away), they’re bankrolling a wasteful recall effort on two current elected officials.”
On August 19, national pro-abortion PAC EMILY’s list announced their support for Giron’s campaign.
“Angela Giron has been a fierce advocate for families – fighting to increase funding for education, expand high-quality health care coverage, and build youth development programs,” said Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY’s list.
But the grassroots support for the recall has been anything but undemocratic, according to people on the ground in Pueblo.
Earlier this year, Victor Head’s group, Pueblo Freedom and Rights, gathered and verified over 12,000 signatures in a Senate District with only 81,846 active voters.
Last month, George Rivera gathered over 1,400 verified signatures to get his name on the ballot against Giron, while he raised $4,000 compared with Giron’s $87,000.
With the final August campaign contribution deadline approaching, Head and local observers expect their opponents to receive an infusion of cash from well-funded Democrat organizations.
“That’s what’s going to happen. August 22 is the end of our reporting period. Anything after the 22 doesn’t have to be reported till September,” said Head.
Still, the most difficult part of September’s recall election may be behind Giron’s opponents.
“Voters are asking, where do I vote? It’s almost more education – we don’t have to convince anyone, it’s just follow through at this point” said Head.
The nation is watching Giron’s race, along with John Morse’s in Colorado Springs, as a check on unbridled legislative power.
“She didn’t represent the people – and that’s exactly why we’re recalling her” noted Head.
On Giron’s website, she lists 10 issues that appear to be important to her tenure, including campaign staples such as education, jobs, and mental health. Detractors point to her lack of attention for Second Amendment rights.
In a recent ad filmed by Pueblo Freedom and Rights, a citizen asks whether or not Giron supports Second Amendment rights.
“I don’t believe that is a yes or no question,” Giron is seen telling the group of constituents.
Head acknowledges he’s severely outspent, but explained it works against Giron.
“We’d love to get TV ads on air. I just don’t have the budget,” said Head.
“Someone mentioned she had an ad on during the Broncos game… I wonder how much that cost… $4,500 for a single ad. I’ve budgeted $5,000 to spend for all of my TV for two weeks” the plumber added.
The Giron campaign, Pueblo United for Angela, is counting on her support from labor unions, pro-amnesty groups and women’s organizations. Earlier this month, she was endorsed by the Pueblo Firefighters IAFF Local 3.
But Head is confident he’s laid the groundwork for September 10.
“All the money in the world can’t buy the votes she needs with the momentum we have,” said Head.