Update: No appeals planned, politicos prepare for the ballot box. Update below.
A Denver judge ruled Thursday that the recall elections against two Democratic state senators can move forward, setting the stage for either an historic vote — or another delay if the decision is appealed to the state’s supreme court.
Judge Robert Hyatt rejected attempts by Senate President John Morse and Sen. Angela Giron to have the petitions calling for their ouster tossed out because of their wording, which, they argued during hours of testimony on Wednesday, didn’t conform to the Colorado Constitution.
They made the same argument during hearings with the Colorado secretary of state, who had earlier certified that their opponents had collected enough valid signatures to trigger an election. They were rebuffed during that challenge as well.
The lawmakers’ attorney, Mark Grueskin, said that the petitions did not include language specifying that there would be an election to choose a successor if they are recalled.
“The Constitution is the Constitution,” Grueskin told the court, adding that the judge had no choice but to invalidate the petitions, even if it angered and disappointed those who signed them.
But Hyatt ruled that they “substantially comply with the law,” the Denver Post reports, adding that “recalls are a fundamental right of Colorado citizens.”
Morse and Giron came under fire for their support of Colorado’s controversial new gun-control laws that ban magazines that hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition and require universal background checks on all gun transfers.
Gov. John Hickenlooper set the date for the elections for Sept. 10, but Morse and Giron could still appeal Hyatt’s ruling,– adding another delay to what has already been a drawn-out battle.
Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan Call said in a statement that he hopes they will respect the will of their constituents and the ruling of the court and allow the elections to proceed.
“Today’s ruling shows what Republicans have been arguing throughout this case — the people of Colorado should have the final say in who represents them,” he said. “It’s a shame that Colorado Democrats are working to stifle the voice of the people.”
“We call upon both Senators Morse and Giron to respect the clear ruling of the district court,” he continued, “and not attempt to stall or delay the recall election process any further with needless and frivolous appeals.”
No legislator has ever been recalled in Colorado history.
Update: Morse and Giron both released statements Thursday, saying that they won’t appeal but are preparing to campaign to keep their jobs.
Angela Giron: “I am ready and eager for the Sept. 10 election. This last legislative session was my best yet and this is a great opportunity to continue talking to folks in Pueblo about all our successes. In the meantime, I continue to work hard and represent Pueblo.”
John Morse: “I started working for this community as a EMT, paramedic or police officer in 1977. I have dedicated my life to public service. I look forward to this election. I have already been elected twice, I am excited by the prospect of being elected a third time.”
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