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June 11, 2019 9:44 am MST

BREAKING: Sullivan Recall Implodes

  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE #5: The Denver Post’s Anna Staver:

“This gives Rep. Sullivan and the Democrats a victory,” said Dick Wadhams, a former Colorado GOP chairman. “Clearly, it was unwise to start this fight.”

Wadhams said he thinks recalls have a place in Colorado’s political process, but they need to be “well thought out.” And he isn’t convinced it’s a good idea for state party leaders to wade into the process before one gets on the ballot — even acting as a resident, as Kristi Brown said she was — because it makes any failed attempt look like it’s a failure of the GOP.

“The Colorado Republican Party was all over this aborted recall attempt,” Wadhams said. [Pols emphasis]


UPDATE #4: Colorado Public Radio’s Bente Birkeland:

“If there was any chance of this recall succeeding they wouldn’t be running away from it, and their statement shows that they learned nothing from this failed attempt,” said a statement from Our Colorado Way of Life, the issue committee fighting the effort. “We hope that they will cease this endless election cycle and let voters decide Colorado’s future during normal elections, but we are ready to beat them again if they launch additional recalls.”

One GOP operative called the decision to pull the plug a devastating blow to Republicans that could hurt efforts to get money behind other potential recall efforts. [Pols emphasis] He said there were internal disagreements on messaging and strategy.


UPDATE #3: Rocky Mountain Gun Owners head honcho Dudley Brown has posted a statement to RMGO’s official Facebook page that is fairly defensive about how donated funds are/were being spent:

“I take the responsibility of spending RMGO donors’ money quite seriously,” said Dudley Brown, RMGO’s Executive Director. “At this point, the best use of our resources is to refocus on other efforts.” [Pols emphasis]

“It’s clear from our work on the ground in HD-37 that Sullivan is out of step with his constituents and Colorado at-large,” continued Brown.

The statement goes on to include this nonsensical assertion: “Our work on the ground in HD-37 has made it clear that voters are ready for a change.”

Obviously, it is completely illogical to claim that “voters are ready for a change” in an announcement about ending a recall attempt in HD-37, but nothing in this recall attempt ever made sense anyway.


UPDATE #2: Here’s a video clip from Colorado GOP chairman Ken Buck’s election as party chairman that hasn’t aged well:

Note enthusiastic applause from Sen. Cory Gardner too! We look forward to the follow-up questions.


UPDATE: 9NEWS’ Marshall Zelinger asks the next logical question:

To which the answer appears to be “no.” Ka-ching!


Rep. Tom Sullivan (D).

Word breaking from numerous sources that Colorado Republican vice chair Party Kristi Burton Brown is ending the hotly controversial attempt to recall freshman Democratic Rep. Tom Sullivan of Centennial:

The Democrats were so scared by this recall that they pulled out every stop to defend Sullivan: from Attorney General Weiser to Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, Democrat Socialists screamed their “outrage” and exposed their true colors. Nearly $100,000 of out-of-state money was spent almost immediately to defend the Democrats’ radical agenda.

We have been able to confirm everything we already knew: Tom Sullivan’s days as a State Representative are almost over. While we are pulling the recall today to focus on other essential efforts, [Pols emphasis] Sullivan does not get a free pass. 2020 is the year to oust him, with the support of voters who now know how extreme he is. The best strategies are unified strategies and, in order to accomplish the most good in the shortest time, we have decided to pull essential resources from this recall and free up volunteers to help finish the National Popular Vote petition effort and to focus on recalling Democrat Senators who are not up for re-election in 2020.

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of a Denver Post story this morning in which Rocky Mountain Gun Owners’ Dudley Brown expressed doubts that the signature drive would be successful:

“We’re not confident,” Rocky Mountain Gun Owners Executive Director Dudley Brown said Monday when The Post asked whether the recall will get onto the ballot. “It’s been tough work.” [Pols emphasis]

The audaciousness of the recall campaign against Rep. Sullivan, who was elected on a platform of gun safety legislation after his son Alex was killed in the 2012 Aurora theater mass shooting, has dominated headlines and effectively stymied the GOP’s declared strategy for initiating recalls in numerous legislative districts–and in doing so severely weakened the momentum Republicans arguably possessed toward the end of the 2019 legislative session.

The division this recall attempt has caused within the Republican Party is not going away either, particularly given the role of GOP leadership figures like Kristi Burton Brown and Minority Leader Patrick Neville. Republicans disgusted by the overreach of attempting to recall Rep. Sullivan over other more vulnerable Democrats–and there are a considerable number of such Republicans today–must also reckon with the fact that this “faction” is in effective control of the Colorado Republican Party. Are Colorado House Republicans really prepared to go into the 2020 election cycle with the Nevilles at the helm after they waded into this misguided recall? Right after losing 2018 in an historic landslide?

We’ll be updating this post throughout the day with coverage and reactions. It’s anybody’s guess what happens next. The magnitude of this defeat for the whole Republican Party in Colorado, no matter which side of this particular recall individuals came down on, will take some time to become fully evident. At the very least, this is a cold bucket of water for anyone with “recall fever.”

It’s a very big deal though. The game, once again, has completely changed.


20 thoughts on “BREAKING: Sullivan Recall Implodes

    1. Probably Lee, with Donovan, Story, Danielson, and Winter as other possibilities. Its pretty telling though that she just said "Senators that aren't up for re-election in 2020." They aren't doing this for any other reason than they can't win a regularly scheduled election. 

  1. It was never really about successfully recalling Rep. Sullivan — it was only about vacuuming up as much free cash as they could from their fearful, ignorant and belligerent (FIB) base.  Dudley must have had a big payment coming due on a new sport fishing boat

    1. Exactly, Davie. The Arapaho GOP vice chair Brenda Stokes was getting hits for her “Decide Colorado” store, Colorado GOP vice chair Kristi Brown was getting donations and backing from the Nevilles for her “Colorado Moms Who Care” pro-gun group, RMGO got donations, and they were trying to recruit volunteer petition gatherers at the same time that they were paying others. It was one big circular money grab.

      And none of it, apparently, was working. Hd37 voters weren’t buying what they were selling. 

      Another attempt to reverse the will of Colorado voters goes down in flames.

    1. Michael, you're right on target.  It was my party too for many decades, but it is now controlled by extremists who can't accept they are out of touch with the majority of Colorado voters and, based on their blindness, they want to ram their views down our throats.

      The Sullivan recall effort never got off the ground because there wasn't any support for it, either from the electorate or financially.  Where is the leadership of the Republican Party – Messrs. Buck and House? With the vice chair of the party kicking off the recall, then pulling the plug on it, and with the vice chair of the Arapahoe Republican Party running the recall, they can't hide behind their statements that the party wasn't officially involved in the Sullivan recall.  That dog won't hunt. The whole effort and its collapse presents very bad optics for the Republican party.

      Since Mr. Buck is using his position as state chair to position himself for the 2022 U.S. Senate race, he won't say or do anything because he doesn't want to alienate the base but by remaining silent, both he and Mr. House are committing acts of omission that will result in another resounding defeat in 2020, and that won't help Mr. Buck's ambitions at all.  

  2. Perhaps they should put their money into a ballot initiative which says, "elections shall only take place when elections are not otherwise scheduled."

  3. Hahaha! Get fucked Colorado Conservaderps!!!  Maybe take a look inward as to why your worldview is looked down upon by the majority. Idiots!

  4. lol This is pretty goddamn funny. But hey, I'm sure people made some decent bank on this before it all turned to shit. In the contemporary GOP, it's all about being on the right side of the grift. 

          1. Sorry, cook, but Phoenix is right. Until the signatures are actually submitted to the Secretary of State for validation, they are not part of the public record. Both the Galindo and Sullivan recalls folded before signatures were submitted. There may be a way to do a legal discovery lawsuit, but short of that, we will never know how many sigs were collected or who signed these recall petitions.

             I personally don’t think they even got 5,000 valid signatures in the Galindo recall. Independence Institute’s Amy Oliver was collecting and counting those, and said that she had sufficient #s (see FB post below) , but no official count was ever done and Oliver is not known for her truthiness. I monitored the social media pages of both recalls. For the Galindo recall, there was great enthusiasm, but also great potential for fraud. In its first weeks, people were like, “I live in Durango, but I’ll sign as if I live in HD50”. For the Sullivan recall, their social media looked increasingly desperate -they just weren’t getting signatures, even after they started paying gatherers.

            But the funding streams are easier to trace – mostly, the big money has come from the Neville empire of PACs, issue committees, and AstroTurf “grassroots” groups like Browns’ “Colorado Moms Who Care”, which gets and returns money to the Neville businesses in a miracle of self-dealing. There were also donations from ranchers and oil and gas “charities “ for the Galindo recall. It’s challenging for me to post my usual linky posts without consistent internet access, but there are several reporters who have traced the funding streams – Marianne Goodland and Eric Malbeutsch Erik Malbeutsch for the Colorado Times Recorder.


            1. They'll be back. Maybe next time they'll find a legislator who won their seat by a cat's whisker and could actually be dislodged by the sore loser. Next time they might even submit the petitions.

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