A recall effort targeting Sen. Angela Giron (D-Pueblo) moved forward Monday when enough gathered petition signatures were verified by the Colorado secretary of state's office.
The Denver Post reported that the secretary of state's office verified 12,648 signatures from the more than gathered 13,400 that the group behind the recall effort, Pueblo Freedom and Rights, turned in earlier in June. The group only needed approximately 11,300 signatures.
Gun rights activists in Pueblo, Colo. are seeking a recall election of Democratic Sen. Giron for her support of a gun control package that Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law earlier this year including expanded background checks to include all private gun sales and transfers and a 15-round limit on ammunition magazines.
“Giron’s disregard for the majority of her constituents to vote no on anti-Second Amendment issues and her general disregard of our Constitution and the rights of the citizens of Colorado demonstrates she must be removed from the Senate,” Victor Head, a plumber who has organized the recall through Pueblo Freedom and Rights group, said to The Denver Post.
Head told ABC World News that he had never set up a recall campaign before and didn't know how to before this year. "I'm a plumber," Head said. "I've never done anything like this in my life."
However, Giron remains defiant saying resignation "hasn't even crossed her mind," The AP's Kristen Wyatt tweeted, and that she did, in fact, listen to her constituents, Wyatt added:
— Kristen Wyatt (@APkristenwyatt) June 10, 2013
Giron joins Colorado Senate President John Morse who also faces a potential recall after gun rights group, the Basic Freedom Defense Fund, delivered a petition with more than 10,000 signatures deemed valid (they only needed around 7,000) to the Secretary of State's office last week for his support of the new gun control laws in the state.
Morse also responded to the recall effort with defiance. “[W]e had 20 6-year-olds shot in the face, and we have the other side arguing we should do nothing, and I’m sorry, that doesn’t cut it," Morse said in response to the recall effort to the Associated Press referring to the 2012's Connecticut school shooting.
Morse says he will not resign and says that even if he loses his seat the gun control measures were too important to dodge in the wake of 2012's Aurora theater massacre and the Sandy Hook shooting in Conn. “Keeping Coloradans safe from gun violence is very worth your political career," Morse said.
Giron can file a protest within 15 to challenge the validity of the petition. Mark Grueskin, Morse's attorney, has already vowed to challenge the recall effort against the Senate president saying that the language used in the petition was unlawful because it never mentions that there would be an election to fill Morse's seat, language required by the Colorado Constitution.
The AP reported that the National Rifle Association got involved with the Morse recall effort and sent a political mailer saying it was coordinating the effort with local groups, however local recall petitioners denied that the NRA was involved in any way.
"I ran this campaign. The NRA did not run this campaign," said Rob Harris, organizer of the Morse recall effort, to the AP. "We the people are making a stand against the people who refused to represent their constituents."
A Morse-supporter group called A Whole Lot of People for John Morse claims that many of the petition signatures gathered were obtained fraudulently and that outside interest groups paid workers to gather signatures, CBS News reported.
According to the Gazette, since the recall effort was started, it has felt like election season for Morse's district with signature gatherers, radio ads, robocalls, polls and a total of almost $40,000 raised for both supporters and opponents of Morse.
Sen. Morse was recently even asked to sign the petition to recall himself at a local supermarket, 9News reported. "I said no, really, I am John Morse. And I pulled out my wallet and showed my driver's license so that he could see that I wasn't making it up," Morse said.
Morse told KDVR that he understands that his recall is only partially about him, and that it's also symbolic. "It's a litmus test," Morse said and added that he believes the success or failure of the recall effort will be interpreted as a referendum on gun control. “There doesn’t seem to be any question that money’s coming from outside the state to say, look, if you do this, we can take out the Senate president -- we can take out anyone across the entire country if you decide to implement common-sense gun legislation.”
If the protests are unsuccessful, Hickenlooper will be forced to set a date for the recall elections sometime between August 23 and October 23 of this year -- it would be the first time in history that a Colorado lawmaker has faced a recall vote since the state adopted the recall in 1912.