DENVER | Disaffected Coloradans have launched a third recall effort, this time against a Democratic legislator whose seat could determine the balance of power in the state Senate.
State Sen. Evie Hudak, who represents a suburban district northwest of Denver, is the latest target of a populist backlash against the Democrat-controlled state legislature's ambitious gun-control package approved in March.
"This is such a grass-roots effort," said Laura Waters, an organizer of the Recall Hudak Too campaign, in an interview Tuesday with KNUS-AM talk-show host Peter Boyles. "We want to keep this momentum going — we want to ride the wave that came out of Pueblo and the other recall in the Springs."
Two Democratic state senators lost their seats in the historic Sept. 10 recall elections in Pueblo and Colorado Springs, paring the Democratic Party's majority in the state Senate to 18-17. Democrats also control the state House and the governor's office.
A successful Hudak recall campaign, coupled with a Republican win, would hand the GOP a one-vote majority in the state Senate.
Even so, the third recall effort has drawn criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike. Colorado Republican Party Chairman Ryan Call told KDVR-TV n Denver that the recall could draw volunteers and resources from the party's effort to win back seats in the November 2014 election.
"This recall election would undermine our efforts in the governor's race, the U.S. Senate race and to win a [state] Senate majority if voters perceive that Republicans are trying to win a majority through recalls," Mr. Call told KDVR-TV.
But the state party will support the Republican candidate if the recall happens, he later told The Washington Times.
"The Colorado GOP's role is to elect Republican candidates to office. If the recall process against Sen. Hudak goes forward, we will do everything we can to help the Republican candidate succeed, just as we did in Pueblo and El Paso County," Mr. Call said.
Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio blasted the recall campaign as the work of those "attempting to undermine our normal process of elections by forcing the taxpayers of Jefferson County to pay for an expensive and unnecessary recall election of a state senator."
"Sadly, in spite of chairman Call's objections, it's proof that the dysfunction of Washington has infected the Colorado Republican Party, as these anti-government ideologues are cut from the same cloth as the extremists in Congress that have taken our government hostage, and shut it down," Mr. Palacio said.
In the recallers' corner is Dudley Brown, executive director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, who's backing the Hudak effort after sitting out the previous two recalls. Recall Hudak Too is also benefiting from support and advice from the Pueblo and Colorado Springs campaigns.
Victor Head, leader of Pueblo Freedom and Rights, said he was frustrated by the state GOP's lack of support, saying, "I think it's counterproductive for Ryan Call to keep bashing on us."
"Look, if people want to exercise their right to recall, you can just say, 'We're not involved,' and leave it at that. Don't come out and say, 'These are bad ideas,'" said Mr. Head, the plumber who ran the successful Pueblo recall. "Basically, if it's not on his agenda, [Mr. Call] doesn't want to know about it, even if it helps his cause."
The state Republican Party did cover most of the legal bills for the Colorado Springs and Pueblo recall campaigns after their petitions were challenged by Democrats. The GOP also lent its support to the two Republicans who ultimately won the seats of Democratic state Sens. John Morse and Angela Giron.
The anti-Hudak committee has until Dec. 3 to collect about 18,300 valid signatures on its petitions to force the special election. So far they're using volunteers, a strategy that worked for Pueblo Freedom and Rights.
Ms. Hudak, who hails from Westminster, was the target of an earlier recall effort that petered out in April. She presents a juicy target for recallers, having infamously told a rape victim during a hearing on a bill that would ban concealed carry on campuses that, "Statistics are not on your side."
"Chances are that if you had had a gun, then he would have been able to get that from you and possibly use it against you," said Ms. Hudak at the March hearing.
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