DENVER – The Colorado Secretary of State’s office this week approved the candidate nomination petitions of Bernie Herpin and George Rivera – more than 1,400 petition signatures were certified exceeding the 1,000 signatures required.
Herpin and Rivera will be the only candidates on the ballot to replace Democrats Senate President John Morse of Colorado Springs and Senator Angela Giron of Pueblo, respectively, who are the subjects of a recall election on Sept. 10.
Of 1,682 petition signatures for Herpin’s candidacy, 1,411 were certified in Senate District 11. Rivera turned in 1,513 petition signatures, and 1,462 were certified in Senate District 3.
The candidate nomination petitions could only be signed by valid Republican voters in those districts.
“It is humbling to have garnered such widespread support during the petition gathering process,” said Herpin in a media release.
“This is another important step in the process for recalling John Morse and replacing him with someone who has dedicated his life to defending the Constitution and decades to serving our community,” said Herpin, a retired Naval and Air Force veteran and former Colorado Springs City Councilman.
Morse and Giron are under fire for having sponsored or backed controversial legislation, including tax hikes, benefits for illegal immigrants and expanding a green energy mandate. But the duo’s push to pass strict gun-control laws was the tipping point that incited voters to recall the Democrat lawmakers.
This week Morse and Giron aired television ads defending their records and imploring their constituents to vote against their recalls which the two claim were initiated by “’extremists” from outside their districts. Neither Democrat mentions the contentious gun-control measures in their ads.
“I would like to thank everyone who made this possible,” said Rivera in Facebook message. “All the volunteers (yes, I said VOLUNTEERS!!) who gave their time and energy, all the folks who donated funds to keep this campaign alive and the 1,520 Republicans who came out and signed the petitions.”
The Pueblo Freedom and Rights group – all volunteers –garnered more than 12,000 certified petition signatures from registered Republican, Democrat and independent voters in Giron’s district.
Rivera, a retired Pueblo Police Chief, also thanked the scores of Democrats and unaffiliated voters who wanted to sign his candidate petition but were disappointed to learn that only Republicans were eligible to sign.
The petition drive to oust Morse was led by The Basic Freedom Defense Fund, mostly voters in Senate District 11 and El Paso County. Though Morse insisted the effort was fueled by the National Rifle Association, the NRA did one mail piece about protecting Second Amendment rights.
The campaigns to defend Morse and Giron have been heavily funded by groups in Denver and outside of Colorado, especially New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg who has vowed to defend the Democrat senators.
The Basic Freedom Defense Fund asked Morse to participate in a public town hall meeting – not a telephone conference of hand-picked participants – to discuss issues in mid-August. Morse has not responded.
Last weekend, Rivera personally invited Giron to an “open and public forum” to share their positions on issues such as water rights, mandated renewable energy, public education and the 2nd Amendment.
“Senator Giron, come out of the shadows and backroom closed door ‘townhalls,’” said Rivera. “Let us share with the Senate District 3 constituency just where we differ on critical issues.”
Giron told the Pueblo Chieftain that she sees no reason to debate Rivera.
“This is not a typical election, it’s an election to undo the 2010 election,” wrote Giron in an email. “I have no problem comparing my record to anyone’s, especially Mr. Rivera’s, who is so out of touch with Pueblo’s needs.”
Voters will decide whether Giron and Morse are out of touch in the recall election on Sept. 10, ballots will be mailed on Aug. 19.