DENVER—Gov. John Hickenlooper moved Sunday to discourage out-of-state gun-control advocates from jumping into the latest recall drive, suggesting their involvement hurts more than it helps.
He said it’s “probably not a bad idea” for gun-control advocates like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to stay out of the campaign to recall state Sen. Evie Hudak (D-Westminster).
“Colorado is a state that people like to be resourceful themselves and solve their own problems,” Hickenlooper said in a video interview with USA Today.
“They don’t really like outside organizations meddling in their affairs, and maybe the NRA gets a pass on that,” Hickenlooper added.
Hickenlooper was in Washington, D.C., over the weekend to participate in the Hero Summit, sponsored by The Daily Beast website and billed as “an invitation-only live journalism event featuring panel discussions and interviews with some of the world’s most influential figures.”
Bloomberg became a persona non grata in Colorado this year during the campaigns to recall Democratic state Sens. Angela Giron and John Morse, triggered by their votes in favor of gun-control bills pushed by Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
His recent comments to Time magazine probably won’t improve his popularity in Colorado. In the Oct. 21 issue, he dismisses the loss of the two Democratic Senate seats as little more than collateral damage.
“What do you mean we lost?” Bloomberg told Time. “I’m sorry for those two people. But we won in Colorado. On to the next state.”
Bloomberg did donate $350,000 to defend Morse and Giron, but both Democrats lost their seats in the Sept. 10 recall election, despite outspending the recallers by a margin of about 6 to 1.
Buoyed by the success of the recalls, another group launched a recall campaign last week against Hudak, who also voted in favor of the three gun-control bills passed by the state legislature and signed into law in March.
Organizers of that effort, Recall Hudak Too, need to collect valid 18,300 signatures to force a recall by Dec. 3. That’s more than the Morse recall, which needed 7,178 signatures, or the Giron recall, which required 11,285 to qualify for the ballot.
Both the Morse and Giron camps were able to submit signatures well in excess of those required. Asked whether he thought the latest recall campaign would meet the signature threshold, Hickenlooper gave it a 50-50 chance.
He added, “I didn’t think they’d get enough signatures for the first two, but they’re well-funded and there’s a lot of energy behind this, a lot of frustration.”
It’s unclear whether the Hudak recall is well-funded, given that organizers are using volunteers to collect signatures, not paid petition-circulators. The campaign posted a response to Hickenlooper’s remarks Monday on its Facebook page.
“Aw, whatsamatter Hickenlooper—you running scared? You should be … Perhaps you should apply some more thought to bills you sign instead of being Bloomberg’s puppet,” said the post.
Hickenlooper said Democrats lost the first two recalls in part because “we weren’t able to get those facts out about background checks to the public.”
“I do think that again, getting the real facts out on some of these issues and universal background checks is not the ogre, it’s not the evil, demonic taking of guns that it’s been presented as,” said HIckenlooper.
He added that he isn’t thrilled with the recall approach, but that he acknowledges the ability of citizens to recall legislators.
“Certainly the Founding Fathers anticipated recalls, and it’s been part of our system since the very beginning,” said Hickenlooper “I accept recalls–I think it’s a very expensive and inefficient way to pick your leadership.”