DENVER—Democratic state Sen. Evie Hudak submitted her resignation Wednesday in the face of a petition drive to place her on the recall ballot, but recall organizers aren’t disbanding just yet.
Hudak released a letter dated Nov. 27 to Cindi Markwell, the Secretary of the Senate, saying that the resignation is effective immediately.
“Though it is difficult to step aside, I have faith that my colleagues will honor the legacy my constituents and I have built,” said Hudak in her letter.
Her resignation comes six days before the recall committee, Recall Hudak Too, was scheduled to submit signatures to the Secretary of State’s office to force a recall election. The group needed 18,900 valid signatures from registered voters in Senate District 19, which includes Arvada and Westminster.
Organizers of the recall effort, Recall Hudak Too, told talk-show host Peter Boyles on KNUS-AM that they were surprised and disappointed by Hudak’s resignation, but they also had a message for state Democrats: This isn’t over.
“We’re just going to look at the next one, folks,” Hudak recall organizer Mike McAlpine. “This is not ending.”
Organizer Laura Waters said Hudak’s resignation was designed to keep the Democrats’ 18-17 majority in the state Senate. By stepping down, Hudak allows a Democratic Party vacancy committee to choose her successor, instead of risking an election defeat by placing the seat up for grabs before the voters.
“That’s what matters to these people, and if the citizens of this state don’t stand up and vote them all out of office in November, there’s something seriously wrong with us,” said Waters.
Two Democrats, state Sens. Angela Giron and John Morse, lost their seats in the Sept. 10 recall election prompted by their votes in favor of gun-control legislation, even though recallers were outspent by a margin of about 6 to 1.
The Hudak recall has followed a similar pattern: Hudak supporters raised more than $170,000, most of it from state and national labor unions, in their effort to save the Jefferson County Democrat’s seat. Recall Hudak Too has raised about half that.
“John Morse didn’t turn tuck tail and run. Angela didn’t turn tuck tail and run,” said McAlpine. “Evie, after all her braggadocious behavior, turns around and runs away. What a wimp.”
Boyles, who has supported the recalls, said the announcement was timed to coincide with the Thanksgiving holiday, during which voters are paying less attention to the news.
“You drop it the day before Thanksgiving, you roll into a weekend when nobody’s working, nobody’s paying attention, Saturday and Sunday,” said Boyles. “It’s just underhanded. They timed it out, they weighted it. They’re the worst.”
At the same time, said McAlpine, Hudak’s resignation does come as a victory of sorts for the recall committee.
“Guess what, Peter, we won,” said McAlpine, calling in from the recall office in Arvada. “We’ve got one guy down here and his reaction is, ‘Yahoo!’”
He said Hudak’s departure won’t put an end to the tension between voters and the Democratic state legislature, described by analysts as the most liberal in state history.
“This is the beginning for us. As Laura points out, ‘We vote, folks,’” said McAlpine. “We’re coming back for you. We’re not stopping. You have proven yet again how corrupt you are, and we are about taking corruption out of government. So don’t think we’ve gone away. We’re just going to look at the next one, folks. This is not ending.”
“Evie Hudak’s resignation should be a lesson to every politician: Do not ignore your constituents,” said Republican Party chair Ryan Call in a statement. “Unfortunately, despite having two members recalled, Colorado Democrats haven’t learned this lesson. By side-stepping the recall process and not allowing the voters to choose a senator who will represent them, Evie Hudak’s resignation shows that Democrats are much more concerned about holding onto political power than in being held accountable.”