When two Colorado Democrats were bracing for the fight of their political lives over their support of a few gun control bills, they also found themselves quickly swimming (and ultimately drowning) in millions of dollars of out-of-state money.
With a third recall election looming on the horizon, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (D) says he think it would be best if outside groups stopped trying to influence the state's gun politics.
"Colorado is a state where people like to be resourceful themselves and solve their own problems," Hickenlooper said in an interview with USA Today. "They don't really like outside organizations meddling in their affairs -- and maybe the NRA gets a pass on that -- but probably not a bad idea."
Once the recalls were set into motion, the amount of money poured into fighting them didn't seem to help -- despite an 8-to-1 spending advantage by recall opponents.
Supporters of Colorado's former Senate President John Morse (D-Colorado Springs) and Senator Angela Giron (D-Pueblo) spent an estimated $3.2 million -- including a $350,000 contribution from New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- unsuccessfully fighting their recalls.
Overall there was about $500,000 that was contributed from the pro-gun lobby, with the NRA contributing at least $360,000 mostly on ads attacking Morse and Giron for their gun control votes. The Koch brothers also chimed in, using their political advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity, to deliver door hangers comparing Morse to Bloomberg.
"The Founding Fathers anticipated recalls and it's been part of our political system since the beginning. I accept recalls," Hickenlooper said, adding, "I think it's a very expensive and inefficient way to pick your leadership."