ARVADA, Colo. | Colorado state Sen. Evie Hudak resigned Wednesday rather than face the prospect of a recall election brought by opponents of her votes in favor of sweeping gun control legislation.
Ms. Hudak, a Democrat, submitted a letter of resignation Wednesday morning to the secretary of the Senate, saying that she was resigning effective immediately. She was a no-show at a news conference held later by her supporters at the Arvada Library.
"Though it is difficult to step aside, I have faith that my colleagues will honor the legacy my constituents and I have built," said Ms. Hudak in her letter.
Her resignation allows Colorado Democrats to appoint a vacancy committee to choose her successor, thus ensuring that their party will retain their one-seat hold on the state Senate. In a statement, the Colorado Republican Party called it a "calculated resignation."
Ms. Hudak's decision comes six days before the Dec. 3 deadline to submit petitions to the secretary of State's office to force a recall election. Organizers at Recall Hudak Too needed 18,900 valid signatures from voters in the Jefferson County district.
The Hudak recall, if it had qualified for the ballot, would have been the third Colorado recall this year in reaction to the Democrat-controlled state legislature's passage of three gun control bills in March. State Sens. John Morse of Colorado Springs and Angela Giron of Pueblo lost their Sept. 10 recall elections, the first recalls of state legislators in Colorado history.
Colorado Democratic Party chairman Rick Palacio said in a statement that the recalls have "created a divisive and toxic environment in our state."
"Sen. Hudak's selfless decision to resign will help ensure that Colorado's legislature doesn't go the path of Washington, where in the name of politics, Tea Party Republicans have stopped working for the American people," Mr. Palacio said.
The stunned Recall Hudak Too organizers said at first they were disappointed at Ms. Hudak's decision to quit the seat, but later celebrated the resignation with an impromptu party at Jiffy's Hot Dog Deli.
"We won. We're ecstatic," recall organizer Mike McAlpine said. "Effectively, her hundreds of thousands of dollars from out-of-state contributions, from unions, bought her about 30 days in the Colorado Senate."
Mr. McAlpine described the truncated recall effort as more of a beginning than an end for Colorado voters frustrated with the Democratic state legislature, which has been described as the most liberal in state history.
"We're coming back for you. We're not stopping," said Mr. McAlpine in an interview with KNUS-AM. "You have proven yet again how corrupt you are, and we are about taking corruption out of government. So don't think we've gone away."
Campaign-finance reports released Tuesday showed that Hudak supporters had raised more than $170,000 to fight the recall, with $100,000 coming from state and national labor unions. Recall Hudak Too had raised about half that.
The Rocky Mountain Gun Owners had thrown its support behind the recall effort and was aiding in the signature-gathering. Advocates on both sides could be found lining Wadsworth Boulevard in Arvada on weekends, holding signs that said, "Recall Hudak" and "No Recall."
The Colorado Republican Party was uninvolved in the recall drive, but state party Chairman Ryan Call said in a statement Wednesday that the resignation "should be a lesson to every politician: Do not ignore your constituents."
"Unfortunately, despite having two members recalled, Colorado Democrats haven't learned this lesson," Mr. Call said in a statement. "By side-stepping the recall process and not allowing the voters to choose a senator who will represent them, Evie Hudak's resignation shows that Democrats are much more concerned about holding onto political power than in being held accountable."
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