Colorado senate president John Morse is now on the way to a recall election thanks to over 16,000 voters who turned in their signatures, largely in protest of Morse’s anti-gun work towards a host of new gun laws that have made the state one of the country’s least gun-friendly places to live.
Petitioners collected more than double the 7,178 signatures needed to force a recall election against the senator later this year.
Much of the legwork was done by rights group I Am Created Equal, along with the Basic Freedom Defense Fund and the Pueblo Freedom and Rights organization, Second Amendment groups targeting state rep. Mike McLachlan and state sens. Angela Giron, Evie Hudak and of course, state senate president Morse.
Morse’s campaigners, A Whole Lot of People for John Morse, were once confident that their opposition would not be able to gather the required number of signatures.
“We have a lot of local people working to keep Sen. Morse in office despite this insane and ridiculous recall effort,” said Christy Le Lait, Morse’s campaign manager. A Whole Lot of People for John Morse is backed by New York mayor Mike Bloomberg of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
The gun control package passed in Colorado earlier this year was extremely unpopular with constituents regardless of their political affiliation. Polls showed that “70 percent of Democratic voters oppose one or some combination of the proposals (either the comprehensive package, the background checks, the liability claim, or the high-capacity magazine ban),” according to political analyst Rob Autry.
Opponents suggested that the effort was the work of the NRA and other national gun rights organizations. Recall organizer Rob Harris rejected those claims, stating that it was a local grassroots effort backed by local donors.
“I ran this campaign. The NRA did not run this campaign,” said Harris. “We the people are making a stand against the people who refused to represent their constituents.”
The NRA issued a statement of support and requested that others donate to the cause, but was not directly involved with the petition.
“This shot will be heard around the world,” said Bill Adaska, one of Harris’ volunteers working in Colorado Springs. “This is the race, right here, that’s going to show Washington and Chicago that when you come after our guns, we’re going to take you out.”
The effort is not complete. After a 15-day review of the signatures by the state and a 15-day review by Morse’s office, voters will have to determine if Morse should be recalled, and if so, who should replace him.
Morse may also resign, which would nullify the recall effort and allow state democrats to appoint a replacement senate president directly, however, Morse has no intention of doing so.
“This is a hill worth dying on,” Morse said. “This is a fight worth having; it’s a fight we’ve already had on the floor of the Senate; it’s a fight worth winning.”
Former state rep. Michael Merrifield has already filed papers to run for Morse’s seat in 2014.
Petitioners are still working to recall other legislators. Signatures to begin the recall process for Angela Giron of Pueblo will be turned in next week.
If successful, these would be the first recalls in Colorado history.