Colorado Republicans go from cool to cold on recalls

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Brad Jones Contributor
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You would think the Colorado Republican Party would be happy to build on the success of the Colorado recall elections.

Political activists wasted little time organizing a similar campaign against Westminster Democrat Evie Hudak, who like the two senators recalled in September is being targeted for her gun control votes. But Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan Call isn’t supportive.

About the renewed signature-gathering effort against Hudak, Call told Fox 31 TV‘s Eli Stokols, “This recall election would undermine our efforts in the governor’s race, the U.S. Senate race and to win a Senate majority if voters perceive that Republicans are trying to win a majority through recalls.”

In politics, that’s called “optics,” the never-ending pursuit of positive PR that sometimes is unconnected to political expediency. For recall proponents, it’s been received more like contempt.

While the state party is generally opposed to the recall efforts as away of crafting a majority outside the normal election cycle, its calculus changes once an election is triggered. The Colorado GOP spent over $100,000 supporting Republican candidates after the recalls were certified, with outside groups like the NRA pitching in significantsums as well. The challenge for signature-gathering activists thus lies in prompting a recall without support — or opposition — from established party infrastructure.

The number of signatures required — based on turnout at the last general election — is significantly higher in Hudak’s district than in either of the successful efforts that gave birth to the September vote,

The difference now appears to be one of degree; a third of the state Senate will be up for election next fall, and campaigns are already beginning to coalesce. Hudak isn’t part of next year’s cohort, having won re-election in 2012.

In an interview with The Denver Post, organizers of the September recalls described the state party’s early opposition. “He scoffed at us. He told us we didn’t have a shot at getting the recall signatures certified and that what we were doing was just wrong,” said Victor Head, a leading force behind the successful recall of Pueblo’s Angela Giron.

In two cases, Call was correct; of the four signature drives mounted this summer, only two were sufficient to prompt elections. The recall drive against Hudak is also a re-do.

Even with opposition from the state party, there’s not much Call can do to stop the process. His office wasn’t poised to provide money or support anyway, and organizers weren’t counting on the help.

UPDATE: This post has been updated to reflect state GOP financial and other contributions to the previous recall efforts.

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Tags : evie hudak
Brad Jones