If Colorado Senate President John Morse loses his seat in a recall election, it won’t be because he didn’t pull out all the stops to prevent it.
Despite his admonition that “we cannot allow outside interest groups to determine what is best for Colorado,” Morse posted a video calling for aid from every corner of the country.
The Colorado secretary of state recently certified that Morse’s opponents had collected more than enough valid signatures to trigger a recall election.
But Morse’s attorney, Mark Grueskin, challenged the entire effort because the petitions circulated by the El Paso Freedom Defense Committee didn’t specifically mention that there would be an election if enough signatures are collected, a requirement of the state constitution.
“This isn’t some technicality or loophole,” Grueskin told Denver’s 7News. “This is a critical piece of information that the proponents of this petition decided not to impart to petition signers.”
Richard Westfall, an attorney with the Colorado Republican Party, told the Denver Post that Morse’s lawyers are misreading the constitution.
“The state constitution very much protects a citizen’s right to recall elected officials,” he’s quoted as saying. “A hyper-technical argument suggested by Sen. Morse’s attorneys would unduly limit the citizens’ rights to recall their elected officials.”
The petitions were boilerplate fill-in-the-blanks forms provided by the secretary of state’s office. The conservative Colorado Peak Politics blog points out that the language on the forms dates back to the previous secretary of state, Democrat Bernie Buescher.
A hearing on the complaint is expected next week.
Meanwhile, before the signatures were even certified, Morse posted what amounts to a coast-to-coast call for help on the Facebook page of his support organization, A Whole Lot of People for John Morse.
“We still have miles to go, frankly, before we sleep,” he says on a video thanking his supporters. “So any help that you can give us in fundraising or in volunteering, even from around the country, truthfully, we can get phone lists to you and things like that and have you help from Boston, Massachusetts, or from San Francisco, California.”
“So thanks for all that you’ve done so far and thanks for all that you’re going to do as we move forward to take on this tiger,” he concluded.
Morse’s opponents have been quick to point out the irony in that appeal, considering that a few weeks ago on Twitter he decried “outside interest groups” like the National Rifle Association that were helping the recall effort.
Morse has long benefited from the financial and rhetorical support of outside organizations himself, including big bucks from the D.C.-based Sixteen Thirty Fund and the progressive group America Votes.
And the Washington D.C.-based Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee has been vocal in supporting Morse, calling out his opponents as “extremists” and “radical groups.”
The secretary of state has 30 days to decide on Morse’s complaint, but it may ultimately be decided by the courts.
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