Third Colorado state senator may face recall

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Brad Jones Contributor
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Energized by historic recalls of two Colorado state senators last month, activists have begun collecting signatures to oust state Democratic Sen. Evie Hudak from office.

Hudak, who represents Westminster, a suburb northwest of Denver, is a favorite target of the GOP for her liberal voting record and a propensity to attract bad PR for herself.

Under Colorado election law, those wishing to prompt a recall election must collect 18,900 signatures from district residents – 25 percent of the total votes cast in the last election. Hudak was initially elected to the state Senate in 2008 after two terms on the state Board of Education.

In both senate elections, Hudak has won by narrow margins; in 2008 she topped Republican Libby Szabo with 51 percent of the vote. In 2012, she won with only 47 percent, narrowly edging out Republican Lang Sias by 0.7 percent. Sias’ defeat was blamed in Republican circles on the presence of Libertarian Lloyd A. Sweeny, who garnered nearly 7 percent of the vote. GOP analysts believe a majority of those Libertarian votes would have otherwise gone to Sias.

This is the second effort at recalling Hudak this year; the successful September recalls of Democrats John Morse and Angela Giron were the result of an original campaign that targeted them as well as Hudak and state Representative Mike McLachlan.

The recall petition cites strict new gun restrictions passed by the Colorado legislature as a reason for recalling Hudak. “She has infringed upon our constitutional right to keep and bear arms. She has voted to make all citizens less safe and to drive hundreds of jobs from Colorado,” the petition reads.

“A small group is seeking to undo the will of voters, who re-elected me to the Senate last November. Unable to defeat me then, they are now attempting a political power grab using a low-voter-turnout, no-mail-ballot recall election strategy,” Hudak told The Denver Post in a statement.

Voter turnout was indeed low in last month’s elections in Colorado Springs and Pueblo; in Morse’s Colorado Springs district only 21 percent of voters participated.

In those contests, mail-in ballots were barred following a legal challenge from the Libertarian Party, based on constitutional timelines regarding candidate access. With voters required to appear in person, recall proponents had a leg up in mobilizing support among their more informed and motivated troops.

Hudak is a popular figure among Democrats, despite her propensity for landing in the papers for the wrong reasons. Just last week, she landed in hot water after being caught on camera surfing Facebook and sending unrelated tweets during a hearing on parole reform. In March, Hudak dismissed a rape victim who testified that she wished she’d had a gun by saying “statistics are not on your side.”

Recall proponents have 60 days to collect enough valid signatures to force an election. Democrats hold a one-seat majority in the state Senate after last month’s recalls.

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