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State Senators Ousted In Historic Recall Elections


In two historic recall efforts, Democratic State Senators John Morse and Angela Giron lost their seats in the State Legislature Tuesday evening.

[Updated 9/11/13 at 5:45 am] Tuesday's elections were the first legislative recalls in state history.

Democratic State Senator John Morse of Colorado Springs acknowledged defeat just before 9:30 p.m. Tuesday evening. With unofficial results posted late in the evening, 50.9 percent of El Paso County voters chose to recall Morse, who’s served in the state legislature for seven years. Residents cast 17,845 votes.

In his concession speech, KMGH-TV reports Morse acknowledged the will of the voters saying, "the highest rank in a democracy is citizen, not senate president."

Andrea Chalfin and our KRCC colleagues are reporting that the vote was close, with fewer than 350 ballots separating the count.

Morse will be replaced by Republican Bernie Herpin, a former Colorado Springs City Councilman. He thanked his supporters, acknowledging he has much to learn and not much time to do it.

"I’m like the backup receiver who is pressed into service in the fourth quarter.  I will work hard to execute the plays and ensure our citizens are the winners," Herpin said in a speech.

Despite seeing early returns suggesting Senator Giron of Pueblo might stave off the recall effort in Pueblo County, she too conceded her seat.  Unofficial results posted late Tuesday evening showed 56 percent of Pueblo County voters chose to remove Giron, with 34,556 votes cast.

The Denver Post reports Giron conceded the race around 10:45 p.m. saying, "We will win in the end, because we are on the right side."

Giron will be replaced by former Pueblo deputy chief of police George Rivera, also a Republican.

The recall efforts were mounted earlier this year after the State legislature passed sweeping gun control laws, supported by both Morse and Giron. 

The recalls don't change the balance of power at the capitol, though -- Democrats still hold a one-seat majority in the state senate.

Morse was elected to the State Legislature in 2006 and was most recently President of the Senate. Giron was elected in 2010.

As the host of KUNC’s new program and podcast In the NoCo, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. Northern Colorado is such a diverse and growing region, brimming with history, culture, music, education, civic engagement, and amazing outdoor recreation. I love finding the stories and voices that reflect what makes NoCo such an extraordinary place to live.
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