Mon May 13, 2013

Recall Efforts Underway For Colorado Lawmakers

The passage of gun control measures during this year’s legislative session – including limiting the size of high capacity magazines – has put four Democratic lawmakers in the crosshairs for recall proceedings.

The Democrats in question are Representative Mike McLachlan of Durango and Senators John Morse of Colorado Springs, Angela Giron of Pueblo and Evie Hudak of Westminster.

KUNC’s Brian Larson speaks with Colorado Statesman publisher Jody Hope Strogoff about the likelihood that these lawmakers will lose their jobs.

John Morse is the President of the Senate, and term-limited in 2014, but he seems to be the main target by many groups including one known as the Basic Freedom Defense Fund.

Interview Highlights

On why the BFDF is going after Senator Morse for recall

“According to its website it’s a non-profit committee that is rallying against John Morse’s votes, especially on gun bills – but they also point out that he’s refused to support economy boosting legislation and that he’s ethics challenge so they’re going after him on all three fronts. But mainly because of his support for gun bills.”

Groups wanting to recall lawmakers have to gather signatures equivalent to 25% of the total number of votes cast for the candidate during the last election. In the case of John Morse, that’s 7,178

“That looks like it’s almost doable compared to, for instance, Senator Evie Hudak who’s also facing a recall election. The groups trying to her recalled need almost 19,000 signatures and even for McLachlan it’s about 10,500 they need so those numbers are more substantial and I think they’re really gearing a lot of the effort towards Morse also because he is the Senate president and they think he’s weak.”

On whether Morse or the others targeted for recall should be concerned

“History shows that recall efforts usually are not successful. In fact it would be very rare for a Senate president or any legislator to be recalled. But there is some concern for worry. Number one, it puts your name out there and in the public’s eye and the limelight attracts attention. That could be both good and bad. And also you have to worry that Colorado Republicans are going to use this information, even though they are basically staying out of it publicly, against them in the future if they do win reelection. So there’s also something to worry about from that vantage point. On the other hand these legislators are all holding firm. Morse in particular says he stands by what he voted for and wouldn’t change any of his votes.”

Jody Hope Strogoff is the publisher of the Colorado Statesman.