The National Rifle Association has joined in the effort to oust Democratic Colorado Senate President John Morse, who is locked in a fight to retain his seat that has drawn national attention — and national dollars on both sides.
Morse has become the exemplar of a gun-grabbing Democrat for Second Amendment advocates, but in comments to the Denver Post, Morse sees himself as standing up to narrow special interests on behalf of the victims of gun violence.
“I’m preparing myself for the campaign of a lifetime,” Morse told the paper. “I’ll be campaigning for all those killed by gun violence, because, you see, leaders never take or receive credit, they only get the blame.”
Just over 7,000 signatures must be gathered by June 3 to trigger a recall election. Both Morse’s supporters and opponents are willing to dump big money into the effort.
The most recent campaign finance reports show that the group supporting Morse, called A Whole Lot of People for John Morse, got $20,000 of the $23,000 raised during its last reporting period from the local chapter of America Votes, which its website says supports progressive policies.
Meanwhile, the main opposition group, the El Paso Freedom Defense Committee, got the bulk of its donation from a local women’s group called I Am Created Equal — $14,000 worth of in-kind donations.
Now the NRA has joined the fight to force a recall election, sending mailers to voters in Morse’s district saying he “led the charge to pass extreme and onerous anti-gun legislation in Denver earlier this year.”
The notice, printed on blaze orange postcards, points out Morse’s support of universal background checks, bans on high capacity magazines and a requirement that gun buyers pay for their background checks (which is called a “gun tax” on the mailer).
It also pointed out a bill Morse sponsored that would have made “lawful firearms owners liable for criminals’ misuse of firearms.” Even a Democratic colleague called the proposal “nuts” and Morse killed the bill.
“Senator Morse blatantly violated your rights this legislative session and needs to be removed from office,” the mailer concludes, pointing recipients to the website for the Basic Freedom Defense Fund, which is coordinating the recall.
Morse is a rare Democrat in an area of the state known for conservative voters and politicians.
He told CNN that he’s not surprised that the NRA is working to see him recalled from office.
“It was a grassroots effort for a little while, but when that didn’t take at all, it was clear they were getting money from outside,” he told the network. “And I wasn’t the least bit surprised the NRA was behind it.”
A recall election is estimated to cost $150,000.
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