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HomePollsColorado Senate President Ousted In Historic Recall For Supporting Gun Laws

Colorado Senate President Ousted In Historic Recall For Supporting Gun Laws

colorado recall

National Rifle Association member Ted Bamber waved to passing cars on Prairie Avenue in Pueblo Tuesday afternoon, September 10, 2013. A yes vote indicates support for a recall of State Senator Angelo Giron in District 3. Photo By Karl Gehring/The Denver Post

The polls have closed in Colorado in the recall vote for two Democratic state senators, including the Colorado Senate President, who backed stricter guns laws in this year’s legislative session.

The polls closed at 9 p.m. local time. Early voting, not including ballots cast today, shows the effort to recall Senate President John Morse was ahead by 52 to 48 percent. The early vote tally accounts for about 45 percent of the vote in Morse’s Colorado Springs district.

Senate President John Morse thanked and urged fellow lawmakers to continue fighting Tuesday as voters ousted him from office for his support for stricter Colorado gun laws.

“It has been an honor to represent the 11th Senate District,” said Morse, who is the first Colorado lawmaker to be recalled and thrown out of office. “It’s been hugely rewarding.”

The votes to try to oust Democratic Senate President Morse and Sen. Angela Giron (Pueblo County) mark the first time in Colorado history that a state lawmaker has faced a recall effort. It what has been the biggest backlash in states that passed tougher gun-control laws following two mass shootings last year – at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater and a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, Democrats appear to have badly misjudged the blueness of the state.

Democratic-leaning Connecticut, Maryland, and New York also passed tougher gun laws without a recall effort making a state ballot, but voters in Colorado, which had been traditionally Republican up until 5 years ago, was not so forgiving.

The states’ effort came after President Obama’s unsuccessful attempt to get Congress to pass stricter federal gun laws – including tighter background checks and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity gun magazines. States run by liberals took the lead in the gun-control agenda.

In Colorado Springs, the majority of registered voters are Democrats, but many are conservative-leaning, with 23% of them signed the petition to recall Morse.

colorado recall

September 10 : Bernie Herpin, Republican nominee, right, in Colorado El Paso County Republican Party Headquarters with his campaign staff and volunteers during the recall election. Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Republican Bernie Herpin said earlier talking to reporters. But he will be all smiles tonight and tomorrow.

Early balloting in Pueblo County showed the results at first to be much closer. Republican George Rivera, a former deputy police chief, would take Giron’s seat should she be recalled.

The National Rifle Association and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg butted heads during the recall effort, led by gun-rights advocates upset over the legislation and how the corrupt hearings were conducted.

Both state legislators in fact voted for 15-round limits on ammunition magazines and for expanded background checks on private gun sales. The legislation passed Colorado’s Democrat-led legislature without any Republican support whatsoever, and was signed into law by Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper who is also polling poor in his reelection effort. Yet, according to Morse, the party has no plans to change course.

Morse called the legislative session where he and Democratic colleagues passed stricter new gun laws a successful one.

colorado recall

SEPTEMBER 10: Colorado State senator John Morse speaks to the media at his election night party at the Wyndham Hotel in Colorado Springs, CO on September 10, 2013. The senator lost a recall after he supported gun control legislation that angered his constituents. Helen H. Richardson/ The Denver Post)

“We as the Democratic party will continue to fight,” Morse said and, we should believe him. “The highest rank in a democracy is citizen, not Senate President, so soon along with many of you, I will hold that rank and there’s nothing citizens can’t accomplish when they put their minds to accomplishing it,” he very unconvincingly added.

Reported contributions to Morse and Giron totaled about $3 million, astronomically higher than the reported amount raised by gun rights activists who petitioned for the recall. However, some independent groups didn’t have to report spending. Both the NRA and Bloomberg contributed more than $300,000 to the pro- and anti-recall campaigns.

Dozens of elected county sheriffs have sued to block the gun laws. One of the Morse recall organizers, Timothy Knight, said supporters are upset that lawmakers limited debate on the gun legislation and seemed more inclined to take orders from the inept White House than their constituents.

“If the people had been listened to, these recalls wouldn’t be happening,” Knight commented earlier. Gov. Hickenlooper flip-flopped on the push for stronger gun control laws, as he was supposedly against further restrictions on Second Amendment rights.

Morse, a former police chief in suburban Colorado Springs, said Colorado’s gun laws were “commonsense ideas” to reduce fatalities in mass shootings. He was first elected to the Colorado Senate in 2006. Giron was more fresh to the Colorado political scene, being first elected in 2010. Technically Giron’s race has not yet been called, but the results below, tell the tale.

It is a victory for Second Amendment supporters.

Results as of 12:04 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2013.

Ballot Issue – State Senate 3 – Recall Giron – Ballot Issue
70 of 112 Precincts Reporting – 63%
Name Votes Vote %
Yes 14,306 60%
No 9,581 40%
Ballot Issue – State Senate 11 – Recall Morse – Ballot Issue
30 of 31 Precincts Reporting – 97%
Name Votes Vote %
Yes 9,040 51%
No 8,571 49%
State Senate – District 3 – Special General
70 of 112 Precincts Reporting – 63%
Name Party Votes Vote %
Rivera, George GOP 14,149 92%
Write-In 1,298 8%
State Senate – District 11 – Special General
30 of 31 Precincts Reporting – 97%
Name Party Votes Vote %
Herpin, Bernie GOP 8,840 83%
Write-In 1,760 17%

Written by
Data Journalism Editor

Rich, the People's Pundit, is the Data Journalism Editor at PPD and Director of the PPD Election Projection Model. He is also the Director of Big Data Poll, and author of "Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause in the American Social Contract."

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