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March 03, 2018 10:36 AM UTC

The Post-Lebsock World: What Happens Next?

  • by: Colorado Pols

AP via the Washington Post summarizes yesterday’s all-day drama on the floor of the Colorado House, which ended with an outcome few expected as the House gaveled in on Friday morning: the first expulsion of a sitting Colorado lawmaker in 103 years:

Democratic Rep. Steve Lebsock wasn’t present when Democrats and Republicans voted 52-9 Friday on a Democrat resolution to expel him. One of his accusers — fellow Democrat Faith Winter — cried and smiled and was mobbed by supporters after the historic vote…

Two successive male representatives told fellow members of the House that they were so worried about tensions stemming from the case against Lebsock that they had taken to wearing bulletproof vests beneath their jackets and ties.

While many Republicans were concerned about what the standard of proof should be for proving sexual misconduct allegations, some were swayed by a document Lebsock sent to lawmakers intended to defend himself that also included sexual details about his accusers.

As most of you have already read by now, Rep. Steve Lebsock had one last bit of treachery in store on his way out the door–as The Hill reports, Lebsock switched his party affiliation to the GOP about an hour before the vote to expel him from the legislature:

Colorado’s Republican Party on Friday asserted the party’s right to appoint a successor to Democratic state Rep. Steve Lebsock, who switched parties to become a Republican minutes before being ousted from the state legislature over sexual harassment claims.

A state party spokesman confirmed to The Hill that officials had not made a decision over whether to appoint a successor for Lebsock or let the decision be handled by the state’s governor, John Hickenlooper, a Democrat.

As of this writing there are a host of unanswered questions about events yesterday. Did Lebsock’s party switch prompt Minority Leader Patrick Neville to release his caucus to vote yes on expulsion? Now that Republicans may have a plausible claim to Lebsock’s House seat, albeit via treachery, will they even want to fill it? With an election coming in November and having no impact on the majority, there are legitimate reasons why Republicans might not.

For the present, we think Rep. Matt Gray sums up the feeling among Democrats:

Whatever the political fallout may be from yesterday’s drama at the Capitol, the most important outcome is that Rep. Lebsock’s multiple victims have received something like justice after a truly disgraceful period in the General Assembly’s history. Lebsock’s serial harassment of women at the Capitol was reason enough to expel him, but it was Lebsock’s retaliation against his victims by trying to publicly assassinate their character that escalated his conduct from harassment to straight-up villainy.

After Lebsock’s unexpected but welcome ouster by an overwhelming bipartisan consensus, Monday will be both literally and figuratively a new day at the Capitol. Women who have suffered under a culture of harassment and denigration for years have struck back, and Lebsock’s ouster from the House has thrown the GOP-controlled Senate’s wrist-slapping, stonewalling, and diversion in response to the multiple credible allegations against Republican Senators into the harshest of relief.

But we’ll talk about that on Monday. For today, just be proud that what happened yesterday is possible.


17 thoughts on “The Post-Lebsock World: What Happens Next?

  1. Now, about the other chamber….

    Assuming Grantham and Co. Take no action against Handsy Tate and the Stache, the Democrats in SD 27 may want to go the recall route.

    1. Recall?

      If the Senate decides to remove the douche weasels, great.
      If not- the voters can. And the opponents can run on why to vote for them, and why to vote against the douche weasels.

      1. That's 2 1/2 years out for Handsy Tate. (I don't recall when Stache is up.)  Why not put SD 27 in play now rather than wait until 2020?

        Remember how the GOP flipped 2 Dem seats with recalls on policy issues on which they had a disagreement? This is a more compelling reason. 

        Although I suppose there is the possibility that Tate would do an Eve Hudak move, resign and let Cole Wist take his place.

          1. Whether Baumgardner "goes early" or not will depend on, I think, what Al and Jean White want to do. They've both held that seat, as Republicans, and both served with integrity, honesty, and transparency. 

              1. The Stache is married? Has she commented on the Employers Council report?  Standing by her man despite the fake news and scurrilous allegations?

    1. That is the challenging part…..

      Signatures totaling 25% of the total number of valid votes cast in 2016 in SD 27. 87,965 votes cast so 21,991 signatures.

      That's a big number but I recall when that other Republican perv in Arapahoe County, Tracy Baker, was recalled as county clerk, there wasn't challenging getting those signatures.

      And the gun nuts had no problem getting sufficient signatures to recall John Morse and Angela Giron.


    2. First, it will take finding out what the voters in the District think. If a majority aren't offended by their Senator (as they SHOULD be), it may not be worth the push to go after signatures. I'm not good with statistics, but someone should be able to tell you how many people would provide a reliable sampling — 300-400 would be my uninformed guess.

      Then, it will take the money to organize and carry out an effort to get valid signatures.

      And then, there needs to be sufficient interest in getting a viable candidate and campaign organization going.

      1. I second what JiD said, but offer the following considerations for a recall, as well:

        1. The emotional intensity behind recalling sexual harassers is nowhere near as intense as that felt by gun fanciers who imagine that Dems are coming to "take their guns away". It's sad, but true. Most of us have lived with low-level sexual harassment all our lives – it's part of the landscape. Especially if it's mostly verbal, not overt ass-grabbing.   We roll our eyes,  try to smile or feel flattered, pass it off as "flirting", and move on.

        The #metoo and #timesup movements have brought some of that into sharp relief, and I do think that harassed people are more likely to report and HR departments to follow through on consequences now; but is it enough to warrant the push for a recall? I, personally, think not.

        If there was financial corruption, as well, as there was with Sheriff Maketa, that's a different story.

        2. You're not going to have deep-pocket donors backing a recall, as the Giron and Morse recalls had. Half a million from the Kochs, thousands from NRA and NAGR PACS, Magpul, etc. Eventually, when it was clear that it was a political move to grab Republican power and to discredit Giron's work in bringing voter access to Colorado, Dems such as Bloomberg and various lefty PACS committed equal finances to the anti-recall effort.

        If anyone wants back-up links for this, I'll provide them. Too much work this a.m.

  2. Friday's excellent work in the Colorado House should remind everyone, it's not about what's easy or what's difficult, it's about creating and preserving a workplace that is free from sexual harassment and assault. What the House did was not easy, and what is needed in the Senate will not be easy. Grantham, time to do the difficult stuff.

    1. His retaliation was known since January, even as you were bleating about due process for him.  You still defended Steve Lebsock (R-Thornton) while his "manifesto" disgusting as it was distributed to every house member.  Now that his former party (Dem) and the majority of his new party (Republican) threw him under the bus ( literally from what he says), you, his stauncest defender do it too?

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