Second Colorado Dem vows to fight for seat in face of recall effort

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Greg Campbell Contributor
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Colorado state Sen. Angela Giron, the second Democrat to face the possibility of a recall election due to her support of tough new gun laws, said unequivocally that she will not resign if her opponents have submitted enough valid signatures to trigger a special election.

“Because of the support I have from my community, that hasn’t even crossed my mind,” she said at a press conference in Denver Monday, the deadline for her opponents to submit at least 11,285 valid signatures to the secretary of state to initiate a recall election.

“There’s just too much support within Senate District 3 for the large picture of work that I’ve done,” she said.

Opponents reportedly have more than 13,500 signatures, but they must be validated within 15 business days. A spokesman for the secretary of state said in an email that as many as 30 percent of petition signatures are typically found to be invalid, although many factors can affect the rate.

Victor Head, spokesman for the Pueblo Freedom and Rights Committee, which is heading the recall effort, said he feels “real confident” about meeting the threshold to trigger a recall campaign. He said practically every signatory was checked against the voter registry before they were allowed to sign the petitions.

He said he believes less than 10 percent of his signatures will be rejected.

Organizers seeking to oust Colorado Senate President John Morse have a thicker cushion, having turned in more than twice the number of signatures needed for a recall election in his district.

Morse has been adamant that he would fight for his seat, but the Denver Post reported Monday that his supporters are weighing all options, including his stepping down.

Such a move would avoid a pricey election, estimated to be at around $150,000 in Morse’s case, and allow a Democratic vacancy committee to fill his seat.

The Post quoted Morse saying that he has no intention to resign “at this point.”

No Colorado politician has ever faced a recall election.

Chris Shallow, the campaign manager for the pro-Giron committee Pueblo United For Angela and a former Obama For America field organizer, according to his Google+ profile, said Giron’s supporters have coordinated with Morse’s on some aspects of their fights to keep their seats, such as how to speak to people signing petitions against them.

The two campaigns also have donors in common, with the progressive Washington D.C.-based Sixteen Thirty Fund contributing $35,000 to each of the committees supporting the Democrats. Other big-ticket donors include Citizens for Integrity (which gave $25,000 to Morse’s committee and $20,000 to Giron’s) and Mainstream Colorado, which donated $15,000 to each campaign.

Thanks to these big contributions, Giron’s committee far outraised the opposition, collecting a total of $74,000 by the end of the last reporting period. That compares to the Pueblo Freedom and Rights Committee collecting just about $10,000, according to Head.

It’s uncertain who has contributed to Pueblo Freedom and Rights. The committee’s most recent campaign finance report shows nothing but non-itemized contributions that Head said were from collection buckets where people donated less than $20 each.

That, he said, is indicative of the grassroots support the recall campaign has had. He said his group has not received any money from outside organizations like the National Rifle Association, which has supported the campaign to recall Morse.

At Monday’s press conference, Giron said she has no regrets about the bills she supported, none of which she sponsored, but said the process of fighting the recall has been disappointing. Many of her Latino supporters have endured racial insults, she said, and the vitriol of the gun debate has obscured what she said were many of the bipartisan accomplishments of the last legislative session.

She also noted that she didn’t support all of the gun laws that were proposed, leading one sponsor to pull a bill that would have banned concealed weapons on college campuses.

“None of the pieces of legislation that I voted on do I have any second thoughts or any doubts [about] what I did,” she said, adding that she feels “affirmed” by the constituents she’s met in how she voted.

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