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Colorado Recalls Make History

August 2, 2013

By 

The American Spectator

In nearly 140 years of Colorado history, it’s never happened before. This year it is happening twice: Two legislators, both Democratic members of the Colorado State Senate, will face recall elections after the Democrat-controlled legislature, bullied by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Vice President Joe Biden, and supported by Governor John “I’m a Moderate” Hickenlooper, passed heavy-handed and unpopular restrictions on gun rights in the Centennial State.

The senators in question are Angela Giron (Pueblo) and John Morse (CO Springs), the latter being the current President of the Colorado Senate. While the anti-gun laws were the precipitating event for the recall, Giron and Morse also angered constituents in their moderate districts by consistent support for a leftist agenda — including a massive tax hike, renewable energy mandates, and in-state tuition for illegal aliens — more appropriate for (or at least expected in) New York City than Colorado.

The restrictions in question require background checks for every gun sale, including between individual citizens (along with the imposition of a state fee for each background check), and ban the purchase or transfer of magazines that hold more than 15 cartridges.

Although the state’s Attorney General, John Suthers, has said he will not enforce the magazine ban as intended by its drafters, the measure was intentionally written to prohibit smaller magazines that could theoretically be modified to hold more than 15 rounds, effectively banning the most common magazines for the most common pistols in America.

Furthermore, the law requires “continuous possession,” meaning that while you can lend your gun to somebody, you cannot lend along with it a magazine that falls under the ban, nor can you sell the magazine or even pass it down to your children along with the gun that requires it. The ban is intended, over time, to turn as many guns as possible into expensive paperweights.

As is typical where you find grassroots efforts against Democrat politicians, and as even the New York Times admits, “Ms. Giron and Mr. Morse are raising and spending far more than their opponents,” including “$35,000 apiece from the Sixteen Thirty Fund, a Washington group that supports liberal and environmental causes,” as well as $3,500 each from the nation’s largest government workers’ union, AFSCME. This despite Jim Elson, the former president of AFSCME 123, signing the petition to recall Senator Giron, telling the Denver Post, “Guns isn’t the only issue, but it was the final straw.”

Liberal groups are not in a complete panic, however, because even replacement of both Morse and Giron would still leave the senate with a Democratic majority, albeit by a single seat, through 2014.

In the Colorado Springs race, a spokeswoman for the pro-Morse group “A Whole Lot of People for John Morse” (derisively called “A Few People for John Morse” by pro-recall forces) throws around the usual charge that the other (conservative) side is funded by a few rich people, the NRA, and out of state money.

The hypocrisy is palpable, but then accusations, or even proof, of hypocrisy have never slowed down Democratic rhetoric in Colorado or anywhere else.

I spoke with Laura Carno, a Colorado Springs conservative activist whose organization, I Am Created Equal, provided funding to those working on the recall. According to Carno, contributions to her group (which she then used to help fund the recall effort) came from a mix of small and large donors, none of them came from out of state, and none from the NRA — though she emphasizes she would gladly accept a contribution from that particular group.

The desperate pro-Morse group also repeatedly tried and failed to disprove the legal validity of the recall petitions, leading Denver District Court Judge Robert Hyatt (not known as a friend of Republicans) to note that “the proponents for the recalls unquestionably made a good faith effort” to ensure the petitions were properly executed.

Pueblo, a heavily Democratic city in south-central Colorado, is seeing the most effective conservative organization it — and perhaps any other part of Colorado — has ever seen, brought unexpectedly by a 28-year old, tattooed, bearded plumber named Victor Head (a principled, committed young man whom I had the chance to meet on Saturday).

Mr. Head, angered by the assault on his fundamental rights, understood — again unusually for a Republican — how to bring the 21st century, particularly smartphones, to bear on the electoral process. As the Denver Post put it, “Political observers predicted he would never collect enough signatures, but Head and his allies, including two other plumbers, one of them his brother, saw the technology as a viable tool to make the recall effort a reality.”

Despite the massive outspending of the pro-Giron forces against Mr. Head’s grassroots efforts, and despite the roughly 2-to-1 Democratic registration advantage over Republicans in that district, Ms. Giron stands a good chance of being recalled.

Forty-five miles north, Senate President John Morse is in even bigger trouble. Although his senate district includes the quirky (and liberal) town of Manitou Springs, John Morse won his 2010 election by only 252 votes in a race in which a Libertarian candidate won five times that number. In other words, if not for the presence of a third party candidate, Mr. Morse would likely have lost; this is not a safe “blue” seat, despite redistricting since 2010 having made the district lean slightly more Democratic than its prior configuration.

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