Lee, Pettersen Prepare To Fight Half-Baked Recalls

UPDATE: Here’s some evidence that the recall campaign against Sen. Brittany Pettersen is not off to what you’d call a well-organized start:

Sure enough, Green Mountain Presbyterian Church on West Alameda is way outside SD-22, smack dab in the heart of Sen. Jessie Danielson’s district to the west.

Forward to victory, boys.


Sens. Brittany Pettersen, Pete Lee (D).

As the Colorado Sun’s Jesse Paul reports, just before close of business yesterday recall petitions were approved for circulation against two Democratic state senators who just won elections in 2018 by wide margins: Sen. Pete Lee of Colorado Springs, and Sen. Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood.

Both won their seats by wide margins in the November 2018 general elections. Pettersen took her seat with 58% of the vote while Lee secured 62%.

“I’m proud of my record. This is an unfortunate abuse of power,” Pettersen told The Colorado Sun on Friday afternoon. “This is what (regular) elections are for when you disagree with somebody. I look forward to talking about why I ran for office and the work that I’ve done in the time that I’ve been elected and what I did last session.”

Pettersen added that she thinks the recall’s backers are “completely out of touch with voters in the community” and that “they keep messing with the wrong people.” She and her supporters have been preparing for weeks for a potential recall effort and have already been rallying support in the district.

Lee echoed Pettersen’s sentiment, saying “I’m really disappointed that people would undermine and disrespect the voters and the democratic process by attempting to recall someone for the votes that they took.”

Both lawmakers are being targeted for the same arithmetic reason: although recall elections are intended to be reserved for cases of official misconduct and crime, the signature requirement to initiate a recall election of a state lawmaker is low enough to make the job relatively straightforward for a well-funded petition gathering drive. It’s only necessary to gather 11,300 signatures to get a recall on the ballot in Sen. Lee’s urban Colorado Springs SD-11, and just under 18,400 in Pettersen’s suburban SD-22. Where the signature requirement to recall a statewide officeholder is dauntingly high, recalls of individual lawmakers have been celebrated by Colorado Republicans as giving them voting leverage they no longer can count on in a general election.

With that said, there’s real question about whether or not these recalls have any actual support among either Republican insiders or rank-and-file members. There’s no way to know for sure how a signature campaign is going until the campaign turns in signatures or they concede failure ahead of the deadline like in the case of the campaign against Rep. Tom Sullivan. But at this point we haven’t seen anything like a Republican wave of support for these two latest recalls. In fact,

If local Republican operative Tyler Sandberg of EIS Solutions is to be believed, these recalls are not moving forward with the support of the Republican donor/consultant class. It is possible that the months of infighting, nasty press, and strategic blunders like the Sullivan fiasco really have persuaded smart Republicans to give up on recalls and focus on the rapidly approaching 2020 elections.

But until anyone knows for sure whether this is a bonafide or silly-season threat to either lawmaker, Democrats are obliged to not just take the threat seriously but to capitalize to maximum advantage on the organizing opportunity this presents for Democrats in their districts. In the next 60 days we expect both will walk their districts like it’s the fall before a general election–which is the best possible defense against both the signature drive and, should it come to it, a recall election.

As for Republicans who want to pursue recalls instead of focusing on the next regular election, they’re going to keep doing it until they lose enough times to realize it won’t work. The only thing you can be sure of is Democrats will not be complacent to the threat ever again–or until the law is changed to preserve recalls for offenses that deserve the ultimate political punishment.

16 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. RepealAndReplace says:

    The gang that couldn’t shoot straight….

    CHB, since you live in Danielson!s district, did you sign?

    When they finish in Danielson’s district, I hear there are lots of potential signers in Tammy Story’s district.

  2. Pseudonymous says:

    although recall elections are intended to be reserved for cases of official misconduct and crime

    That's factually false in Colorado and many other states.

    Also, it might be worth noting that Ian shares a rather intimate tie to the candidate he’s posting about, in addition to his leadership of ProgressNow Colorado.

    • bullshit! says:

      How is it factually false? That's a spirit vs. letter of the law question at best. And I happen to agree with Pols.

      As for disclosure, sure. Everybody should disclose everything all the time. I had breakfast for dinner at Perkin's last night and I still haven't eaten anything today. Come to think of it I'm getting hangry.

      • Pseudonymous says:

        Article XXI:

        Every elective public officer of the state of Colorado may be recalled from office at any time by the registered electors entitled to vote for a successor of such incumbent through the procedure and in the manner herein provided for

        …such petition shall contain a general statement, in not more than two hundred words, of the ground or grounds on which such recall is sought, which statement is intended for the information of the registered electors, and the registered electors shall be the sole and exclusive judges of the legality, reasonableness and sufficiency of such ground or grounds assigned for such recall, and said ground or grounds shall not be open to review. [emphasis mine]

        Not seeing misconduct or crime anywhere.  You?

      • RepealAndReplace says:

        Some are still angry with Ian for not supporting Amendment 69. Sigh….

  3. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    Repeal & Replace: I just saw your note. I didn't know that anti-Pettersen types were coming into Senate District 20 to collect signatures. I was gone for the day out hiking out in the Fairplay area; beautiful day for a "hill climb."

    I think it's time for an awakening for these stupid recall idiots. I repeat myself in saying that our party got its biggest ass-whuppin' in decades in the mid-terms last November.

    Instead of farting around with these silly recall efforts, what are you people actually doing to EARN MY VOTE next year?

  4. DENependent says:

    The problem with recalls is not how easy (or hard) they are to get on the ballot. It is the 50% of low turn out special election.

    A recall should require that the votes cast in favor of recalling the official should be at least 1/2 of the total votes cast for all candidates for the position in the previous general election. Elected officials should only be recalled by the majority opinion of the district. Unless a recall campaign can motivate at least half the voters to turn out it should fail.

    • mamajama55 says:

      I think Rep.  Tom Sullivan is researching legislation to make some of those changes to recall law in Colorado. It's why Dave Williams, Dudley Brown, and the Neville clan are frothing at the mouth.

      But Sullivan shrugs and says:

      So what are you going to do? Recall me?

    • JohnInDenver says:

      Recalls are irritating, but don't seem to be a consistently successful strategy.  I don't know if there needs to be any systemic change.  If there does, it seems to me the election should AT LEAST require any recall election be held as part of a "regular" election, avoiding the extra expense of an election.  No guarantee, but it would allow for notice and insure some turnout.


  5. notaskinnycook says:

    Is everyone seeing the poorly targeted ad at the top of the page (which I know Alva has no control over)? "Join Recall Colorado today…"

    Hmm…I posted the above comment and *poof* that ad was gone. I’ve seen it at lest three times today.

    • mamajama55 says:

      cook, it's a google ad thing that targets the words you use in posts. Creepy, right? But you can click on the X and tell google that you don't want to see the ad. then they ask you 20 questions about why not, and eventually the ad goes away.

      It's the same reason I see questions about Trump all the time in that ad box. The only thing that makes them go away forever is an ad-buster extension like ghostery or Adblock plus, which my current hardware/software combination won't support.

      No, I don't see that Recall ad. I see ads for space movies, weird scientific equipment,, and girly stuff.

  6. mamajama55 says:

    Pallozzi has moved north. Still not in Pettersen's district. She is now at 93rd and Sheridan. However, she is collecting sigs for the Polis recall, and probably the Pettersen recall only as an afterthought.

    Nancy Pallozzi to Resist Polis PAC Recall

    Jul 12 ·  · I will be at the Starbucks 93rd and Sheridan, 9370 Sheridan from 1 – 2:30 on Sunday July 14th. This is in the Westminster/Thornton area. You can come by to sign a petition or pick up packets and volunteer in getting signatures for us. 🙂

  7. doremi says:

    Am I missing something?  I thought you had to live in the district to be the one to file the recall petition.  Did someone else file it on Pettersen?

    • mamajama55 says:

      Pallozzi does live in SD22. She was also Pettersen's opponent in 2018. It's pure sore-loserism. But Pallozzi is also a big booster of the recall-Polis petition, and so she is going outside her district to collect votes for that.

      When I said that Pallozzi had “moved north”, I meant with her signature-gathering efforts. Why she doesn’t want to get signatures in her own district is….interesting. Perhaps people know her and remember that they voted for her opponent?

      No, it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense. But that is what she's doing.

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