There is no group of people who know how to make a bad situation worse like Colorado Republicans.
On Wednesday, Colorado Republicans announced that they had formally begun the process to recall State Sen. Kevin Priola from office for reasons that have nothing to do with policy and everything to do with partisanship.
On Monday, Priola announced that he was leaving the Republican Party and affiliating with Democrats after four terms in the State House and 6 years in the State Senate. Priola said he could no longer remain a part of the Republican Party because of the GOP’s embrace of the “Big Lie” and its persistent refusal to take any action to address the effects of Climate Change.
Colorado Republicans spent the rest of the day on Monday and on Tuesday ripping into Priola, continuing a long trend of crapping on him both in public and private. Consistent attacks from Republicans did little more than prove Priola’s point from his two-page letter announcing his switch to the Democratic Party. With their endless vitriol, Republicans demonstrated that Priola’s complaints about an unhinged and disconnected GOP was no longer a place where he felt comfortable residing.
Republican consultant Michael Fields, the registered agent on the recall paperwork, wants to turn this bad two-day story into weeks of terrible press for Republicans. This is the same Michael Fields who oversaw Americans for Prosperity in Colorado, the Koch-funded right-wing network that regularly praised Priola for assisting with many of their pet issues. Fields was so grateful, in fact, that he shanked Priola in the kidney when Priola wanted to run for Congress in the new CO-08:
Now that Priola is a Democrat, Fields is his enemy. This is similar to the approach taken by State Rep. Colin Larson, who told The Denver Post that Priola was no longer his friend now that he had switched political parties.
Fields disingenuously told the website “Complete Colorado” that the recall effort was underway because of several pieces of legislation supported by Priola, including SB21-260, HB19-1257, and SB18-040. We’re not going to bother explaining any of these bills because the policy concerns are irrelevant. Fields obviously didn’t care that much about Priola’s support for these bills — some of them years old at this point — as recently as last Friday. He’s only using these examples to justify a recall now because Priola is no longer a Republican.
Colorado Republicans have spent a ridiculous amount of time and money in recent years trying (and failing) to recall various Democratic politicians. Recalling Democrats was practically the State GOP platform in 2019. But trying to recall Priola NOW is even dumber than previous failed attempts to oust Democrats such as Gov. Jared Polis and State Rep. Tom Sullivan.
Mail ballots in Colorado will start going out in less than two months, which is about the same time that petitions to initiate a recall against Priola will be due to be filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. Instead of spending the next 6-8 weeks trying to engage voters to support Republican candidates WHO ARE ALREADY ON THE NOVEMBER BALLOT, GOP leaders — including former militia leader and State Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown — will be distracted by spending money and collecting signatures to recall someone who isn’t even eligible to seek another term in the State Senate.
Republican donors are surely going to be thrilled that the GOP is veering off on this dumbass quest for revenge during the most crucial period of the 2022 campaign cycle. This is quite possibly the worst thing that Colorado Republicans could be doing right now.
If you’re Kevin Priola, every day makes you feel better about your decision to become a Democrat.
Egads! This is going to be a logistical mess.
From what I read of the recall rules, it will be the voters of SD13 that have to sign the petitions and vote in a recall election if they get enough. 90% of SD 13 is new to Priola this year so most of them won’t even know he IS their state senator. I see the signature gathering as particularly problematic for the petitioners in this case.
Anyhow if it proceeds, here is the time line:
Once the petition format is approved, they have 60 days to collect signatures. In theory, they could be collecting signatures as early as 1 Sept. That would make them due 31 Oct.
Sec of State has 28 days to check the signatures for sufficiency. That now puts us on Nov 29th. Assuming they are found sufficient, there is a 15 day protest period where anyone can challenge the sufficiency statement. That now puts us on Dec. 13th. If the petitions are not found to be sufficient there is a 5 day day cure period so everything after this could be delayed by a week, but let’s assume they are sufficient.
If no challenge to the sufficiency statement happens (unlikely) the sufficiency is turned over to the Gov. by Dec. 19th. He then sets the recall election to be sometime between 30 and 60 days from that point. So we are looking at between Jan 18th & Feb. 17th.
If there is a challenge to the sufficiency, which there likely would be, then we are on “court time” which could delay an recall election until late March/early April by which time Priola will have served most of a session in the Senate as a Democrat.
If the petitioners were successful in gathering the signatures, the Sec. of State is required to give Priola 5 days after the sufficiency to resign on his own and avoid the election altogether. At this point, that would be Priola’s best option, strategically. His replacement then would be picked by a Democratic vacancy committee, guaranteeing a Dem would serve out the term and allowing that person to run in 2024 as an incumbent.
Priola running in a recall would be a dice roll for him. The Rs won’t be happy with him because he jumped ship, and the Ds won’t be happy because he still supports a lot of Republican issues. Add to that the district is only slightly competitive with a 3.7% R-lean according the staff that provided numbers for the Redistricting Commission.
As I read the regs, the recall would be based on the district being represented at the time of the incumbent's election, NOT the newly developed reapportionment.
Needs signatures equal to 25 percent of the votes cast in the last election for the official being recalled. In the 2020 election, the total votes: 73,163, so 18,291 valid signatures needed. Ballotpedia says the cost per signature in their analysis of Colorado petitions ranged from $0 to almost $18, with the median and average being about $7.50. That would be $137,180. Seems to me that would be an excellent way for Republicans to waste resources in the midst of a general election. But if they delay, the process schedule moves back, and would take place during the legislative session. Priola would be able to point to his actual votes as a Democrat … and highlight the hypocrisy.
You know, once again the Republican party does it's best to elect Democrats. This will be lovely messaging throughout the election for the Democratic candidates.
So if he were to resign to avoid the recall (like Evie Hudak did back in 2013), who gets to choose his replacement? The Dems or the Republicans…and in which district?
The SD13 Dem vacancy committee
Too bad these demented GQP chuckleheads can’t seem to ‘recall’ just how disastrously many of their previous recall attempts turned out.
Ah well, let ’em suffer. Again.
Recall campaigns make perfect sense, if the goal is to keep your base agitated, and portraying to them that you are doing something; while perpetuating the theme that Democrats are illegitimate, and, importantly, supplying fodder for fundraiding and for skimming fees.
[“fundraiding” was a typo, but I think I’ll keep it]
Agreed MM. R-E-C-A-L-L is how the GOP spells GOTV.