UPDATE #2: Colorado Public Radio’s Bente Birkeland confirms that the recall against Rep. Tom Sullivan was initiated by none other than Colorado GOP vice-chair Kristi Burton Brown:
A campaign to try to recall Democratic Rep. Tom Sullivan of Centennial from office is official. The effort is directly linked to the Colorado Republican Party — which historically has stayed out of many recall efforts and not initiated them.
“Rep. Tom Sullivan needs to be recalled because, like the rest of the Democrats in the legislature this session, he did not represent the families of Colorado,” said Kristi Burton Brown, an attorney and the vice-chair of the Colorado Republican Party. She filed the request with the secretary of state.
Kristi Burton Brown has a long association with the Neville political machine, serving as the filing agent for the Values First “independent expenditure” group that (mis)managed the 2018 House GOP’s defeats. The vigorous pushback this attempt seems to be getting from within the Republican Party is indicative of a serious intraparty divide–in addition to what’s expected to be overwhelming public distaste for recalling the father of an Aurora shooting victim for passing popular gun safety legislation.
What happens next? We’ll all find out together. But it’s not going to be pretty.
UPDATE: The problems here are obvious…
This could be politically risky — trying to recall the father of a mass shooting victim who clearly ran on gun control. If they swing and miss, they will bolster his support in 2020. #coleg #copolitics https://t.co/P5Oetx8S6Z
— Justin Wingerter (@JustinWingerter) May 13, 2019
Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, which bills itself as “Colorado’s only no-compromise gun rights organization,” has been teasing out some sort of announcement that would appear to be related to another recall attempt of a sitting lawmaker. It’s probably no coincidence that a recall petition was filed this afternoon against freshman Rep. Tom Sullivan (D-Aurora), who has been on the receiving end of mean words from RMGO head honcho Dudley Brown because of Sullivan’s strong support for a “red flag” bill that passed through the Colorado legislature this year.
For anyone who follows Colorado politics and the current state of right-wing recall fever, this is a predictable turn of events — particularly considering Brown’s considerable hubris and his need to raise money to support his militant organization. The irony is nevertheless impossible to ignore given the circumstances of the 2018 election.
Last year, Sullivan defeated incumbent Republican Rep. Cole Wist in HD-37 by an 8-point margin. In the run-up to the November election, Wist was attacked by RMGO over his support of “red flag” legislation. Brown has since claimed Wist as a political scalp, though Sullivan’s 8-point margin of victory makes that assertion fairly ridiculous. Here’s Brown in a new interview published today by David O. Williams of RealVail.com:
REAL VAIL: Red flag had Republican sponsorship last year from former state Rep. Cole Wist and even the National Rifle Association said it was open to some forms of the law. Why not RMGO?
BROWN: Cole Wist, he lied to me last year when I called him and said, ‘I heard you were working on red flag. Oh no, I’m not.’ And then we filed a [Colorado Open Records Act request] and found out, yes, he was. And he had been lying to me all along. And so we went out and lit-dropped his district and mailed and we put a little bit of effort into ruining his life. And he paid the price. [Wist lost to primary red flag sponsor Rep. Tom Sullivan, a Democrat who lost his son in the Aurora theater shooting.] [Pols emphasis]
RV: Is that why not a single Republican backed red flag this year, out of fear of RMGO?
DB: I know a lot of RINOs [Republicans In Name Only] all bellyached about, ‘RMGO didn’t play on the team.’ We’re not owned by the Republican Party and when Republicans don’t play on the pro-gun team, we will piss in their ice bowl. We don’t care. [Pols emphasis]
Brown is now taking time away from pissing in the ice bowl of Republicans (whatever the hell that means) to go after Sullivan. Some Colorado Republicans are less than amused by RMGO’s recall quest:
Congrats to RMGO on ensuring that Tom Sullivan wins re-election in 2020.
Great work taking a swing seat and making it safe for Democrats.
— Tyler Sandberg (@wtylersandberg) May 13, 2019
To recap, RMGO is trying to recall Rep. Tom Sullivan, whose son was killed in the Aurora Theater shootings, because of his support of “red flag” legislation that polling shows has the support of 80% of Colorado voters. This comes less than a week after the deadly shooting at a STEM school in Highlands Ranch, and a month after hundreds of schools in the Metro Denver area were locked down because of a threat from a Florida woman who flew to Denver and immediately bought a shotgun and ammunition at a gun store near Columbine High School.
No, this doesn’t make any sense. But somebody’s got to pay the bills for Dudley Brown.