Colorado Democratic state Sen. Evie Hudak, the third legislator facing the prospect of a recall for her support of tough new gun control laws, resigned on Wednesday rather than risk losing her seat in a special election.
Had that happened, power in the state senate would have shifted to the Republican Party. With Hudak’s resignation, however, Democrats can appoint her successor and hold onto a one-seat majority. Democrats also control the state House.
“Though it is difficult to step aside, I have faith that my colleagues will honor the legacy my constituents and I have built,” Hudak wrote in her letter of resignation to the Secretary of the Senate. “I am thankful to my fellow legislators who have been so supportive in recent weeks, standing by my side and encouraging me to keep fighting.”
Hudak also defended her support of Colorado’s controversial gun control laws that have already cost two other Democrats their seats. Former Sens. John Morse and Angela Giron were the first legislators in state history to be recalled during a special election in September. All three were targeted for their support of laws limiting the size of ammunition magazines and requiring universal background checks. (RELATED: Colorado recall elections viewed as gun control litmus test)
In her resignation letter, Hudak called the legislation “sensible.”
“Most Coloradans believe that going through a background check is a reasonable thing to do if it means we can keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals,” she wrote. “Most Coloradans believe that the convenience of high-capacity ammunition magazines is less important than saving lives in tragedies like Sandy Hook, Aurora and Columbine.”
“I am proud of what I accomplished over the last year and I believe these bills will make life better for all the people of my district and for all Coloradans,” Hudak wrote.
Hudak was first targeted for comments she made to a rape victim testifying against a bill that would have banned weapons on college campuses, telling the woman that the “statistics are not on your side even if you had a gun.”
She has also been criticized for tweeting, browsing Facebook and surfing the web during committee meetings.
A previous attempt to recall Hudak failed to gather the requisite number of signatures. But motivated by their success in ousting Morse and Giron, opponents mounted a more robust drive shortly after their recalls.
Recall organizers had until next week to turn in 18,900 valid signatures to trigger a recall election. They said last week that they had about 92 percent of their goal, which included a cushion to account for signatures that inevitably are deemed invalid by the Secretary of State’s office.
Hudak won her last election by fewer than 600 votes and was not expected to survive a recall election.
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