DENVER—Rumors are swirling over whether Democrat Evie Hudak will attempt to regain her state Senate seat, but no matter what happens, Mike McAlpine says he’s ready.
McAlpine, a leading organizer of Recall Hudak Too, said the now-retired recall movement still has a few assets tucked away for a rainy day—namely, the roughly 25,000 signatures on the Hudak recall petitions.
“The petitions are the property of Recall Hudak Too, and they’re stored in a nice, safe location,” said McAlpine. “There might be about 25,000 people who said they were opposed to her, and we have their name and addresses. We also had more than 1,000 volunteers.”
Those names may come in handy if Hudak decides to run for the Senate District 19 seat in November 2014. Colorado Peak Politics reported Thursday that Hudak may be considering a run for the seat that she vacated Nov. 27, a week before petitions were due in the recall drive.
A Democratic vacancy committee is scheduled to choose a replacement Dec. 10, but that person would come up for reelection in November. The two top candidates are former state Rep. Sara Gagliardi and Arvada city councilwoman Rachel Zenzinger.
Peak suggested that they could be seat-warmers for Hudak. “We wonder if Gagliardi and Zenzinger understand how temporary their role would be,” said the website.
The other scenario being floated is less plausible: The vacancy committee could choose Hudak herself. In that case, her selection would come a week after the recall drive’s Dec. 3 deadline for petitions, thus allowing her to avoid the recall election.
Both situations would require Hudak to run in 2014, and while she may seem like a less than viable candidate today, she does have one significant advantage: money. The two issue committees formed in October to fight the Hudak recall effort have more than $106,000 cash on hand, according to the latest campaign-finance reports.
Stand with Evie has $20,362 as of the Dec. 5 filing, while the Democracy Defense Fund was left with $86,595.
It’s unclear whether Hudak would be able under the state’s term-limit laws to run in 2014, but she certainly has an argument. The Colorado Legislative Council has this to say on its website: “Any person appointed or elected to fill a vacancy in the General Assembly and who serves at least one-half of a term of office is considered to have served a term in that office for purposes of the constitutional limit on terms.”
Hudak was elected to her second term in November 2012, which means she only served one year of her four-year term in the Jefferson County seat.
Of course, Democrats may not want Hudak on the ballot in 2014. She wasn’t a particularly strong candidate: She won in 2008 with just 51 percent of the vote, and squeaked by in 2012 with 47 percent after a Libertarian candidate drew nearly 7 percent.
The recallers were careful not to endorse or support any candidate for the seat during the petition drive, but nobody would be surprised to see them involved in the 2014 race.
“We all need people with sound principles to sit in the statehouse, and we’ve got a lot of volunteers who could get behind a candidate like that,” said McAlpine.
Especially if Hudak’s name is also on the ballot. “We would love to see her actually go through with the election process this time,” he said.