Hickenlooper to Bloomberg: Butt out of the next recall election

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Greg Campbell Contributor
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Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has a message for national gun control groups that might want to help another Democratic state lawmaker facing recall: stay home.

In comments to USA Today over the weekend, Hickenlooper seems to have learned the hard way that deep-pocketed out-of-state gun control groups do more harm than good to their cause in a state that’s still up in arms over a slate of highly controversial new gun control laws.

In September, two Democratic state senators were kicked out of office for their support of Colorado’s new laws, the first such recalls in state history. Efforts to keep John Morse and Angela Giron in office were heavily supported by national gun control groups, especially New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Bloomberg personally contributed $350,000 to the incumbents’ campaigns, but both were ousted.

Liberal groups raised nearly $3 million to defend Morse and Giron, while the pro-recall groups raised about $540,000, according to the Denver Post. Just prior to her defeat, Giron said Mayors Against Illegal Guns “might as well fold it up” if they lost either seat.

Now, state Sen. Evie Hudak is in the crosshairs of Second Amendment advocates. Hudak survived an earlier recall attempt when her opponents failed to gather enough signatures to force a recall election.

But after successfully recalling Morse and Giron, gun-rights groups have more momentum this time. Those seeking to recall Hudak must gather 18,900 signatures by Dec. 3 to trigger an election. Hickenlooper told USA Today that there’s a 50-50 chance the effort will succeed.

“They’re well-funded and there’s a lot of energy behind this, a lot of frustration,” Hickenlooper said.

If it comes to a vote, he hopes that divisive, high-profile organizations like Bloomberg’s sit this one out.

“Colorado is a state that people like to be themselves and solve their own problems,” he told the newspaper’s weekly video series. “They don’t really like outside organizations meddling in their affairs, and maybe the NRA gets a pass on that.”

After the September recalls, Democrats saw their edge in the state Senate whittled to a one seat majority. If Hudak is sacked, Republicans will take over control of the Senate. Democrats control the state House.

Hudak first raised the ire of gun rights groups in the spring, when she told a rape survivor who testified that she wished she’d had a gun during her assault that “the statistics are not on your side” that it would have changed the outcome.

Recently, Hudak was caught surfing Facebook during a committee meeting and sending out unrelated tweets.

She told the Denver Post that the second attempt to recall her is a “power grab.”

“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,” she said.

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