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Colorado Senate president will face recall election forced by gun-rights activists

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DENVER — The first-ever recall election of a Colorado state legislator moved closer to fruition Tuesday after it was announced that there are sufficient valid signatures to proceed with the recall of Senate President John Morse.

Secretary of State Scott Gessler said the El Paso Freedom Defense Committee had gathered 10,137 valid signatures, well in excess of the 7,178 needed to qualify for the recall ballot. The recall committee submitted more than 16,000 signatures two weeks ago.

The recall has drawn national attention as a referendum on gun control in the aftermath of two mass shootings last year in Connecticut and Colorado. Another Democrat, state Sen. Angela Giron of Pueblo, has also been targeted for recall.

Colorado gun-rights advocates launched the recall drive in reaction to Mr. Morse's support for a package of gun-control bills that were signed in March by Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Meanwhile, Mr. Morse, a Colorado Springs Democrat, released a statement Monday on his Facebook page asking for out-of-state help from those in traditionally liberal cities to help fight the recall effort.

"We can get phone lists to you and things like that and have you help from Boston, Massachusetts, or San Francisco, California," said Mr. Morse in a video message. "So thanks for all that you've done and thanks for all that you're going to do as we move forward to take on this tiger."

Mr. Morse has 15 days to challenge the signatures, but if his protest fails, the governor will be charged with setting a recall election date between 45 and 75 days from the end of the protest period.

Mr. Morse could also avoid a recall fight by resigning his seat, which would permit a Democratic vacancy committee to appoint a successor. Democrats control both houses of the state Legislature.

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