Recalls Will Proceed; Special Election Day September 10th

UPDATE #4: In a joint press release, the campaigns of Sens. John Morse and Angela Giron announce that they will not appeal today's decision by Denver District Court.

Today, the Denver District Court determined the recall election should proceed despite our constitutional concerns.  A September 10th election date has been set.  Both campaigns have decided they will not appeal the Denver District Court decision. 

We appreciate the opportunity to have all the arguments heard and a full discussion of the merits of the case. 

“I am ready and eager for the September 10th election.  This last legislative session was my best yet and this is a great opportunity to continue talking to folks in Pueblo about all our successes.  In the meantime, I continue to work hard and represent Pueblo,” said Sen. Angela Giron. 

President Morse added, “I started working for this community as a EMT, paramedic or police officer in 1977.  I have dedicated my life to public service.  I look forward to this election.  I have already been elected twice, I am excited by the prospect of being elected a third time.” 


UPDATE #3: Gov. John Hickenlooper sets the date for both recall elections: Tuesday, September 10th.


UPDATE #2: Scott Gessler's writ of mandamus is denied: Judge Hyatt rules that Hickenlooper was right to wait for judicial review. The Colorado Supreme Court may still issue a stay; otherwise, says Judge Hyatt, "the clock begins running now" for Gov. Hickenlooper to set a recall date.


UPDATE: Denver District Judge Robert Hyatt rules in favor of recall organizers on constitutional language question; that ruling is subject to appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court. Still awaiting word on Gessler's motion to force an immediate election date.


Scott Gessler.

Scott Gessler.

Political insiders on both sides of the aisle are nervously awaiting the rulings expected today at 1:00PM from Denver District Judge Robert Hyatt: on the constitutionality of the recall petition language used to obtain signatures against two Democratic state senators, as well as a motion from Secretary of State Scott Gessler through a private attorney to force Gov. John Hickenlooper to set a date for these recall elections before the aforementioned constitutional question is resolved.

Whichever way Judge Hyatt rules, the case is certain to be appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court.

Secretary of State Gessler's motion, filed via a former Hackstaff Law Group (formerly Hackstaff Gessler) attorney, has come under significant criticism. We discussed Monday the appearances of Gessler's move–since then, Hickenlooper aide Alan Salazar defended Gov. Hickenlooper's decision to wait until these hearings were completed as "respect for the judicial process." As we noted, a more practical consideration for both sides is the student body of Colorado College in Sen. John Morse's district–Republicans and the El Paso County clerk want the election set before those students return for the fall semester, while Morse's supporters obviously want those students included.

It's critical to understand this detail, as it seriously undermines the credibility of Secretary of State Gessler's motion. Gov. Hickenlooper is not attempting to prevent the recall election from going forward, but his interpretation of the law, to wait until court challenges are resolved, will result in the 2,000 member student body of Colorado College being able to participate in the recall election.


Once you understand that, you realize that Gessler is not actually trying to defend the elections process at all. He's trying, in his official capacity and using a fellow private elections law attorney, to put his thumb on the scales.

In a vacuum, that seems like a very harsh indictment against the state's chief elections officer. But folks, two and a half years into Gessler's term as Secretary of State–after the dunk tank fundraiser, the quixotic hunt for "illegal voters," the long battle to restrict delivery of ballots to so-called "inactive voters," the ethics judgments following partisan Republican strategy conventions, we could go on and on–do you really think we're being unfair?

We'll have plenty to update after 1:00PM today.

36 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. bullshit! says:

    Personal prediction: Hyatt punts, rules for recallers, Supremes take the heat and uphold the law.

    • Hawkeye-X says:

      And issues a royal smackdown to Hyatt for failing to follow Combs vs Novak precedent that will seal the Republicans' fate for the fall and beyond.

      Morse is term limited anyway – let him finish out his term, or Republicans risk having another Democratic replacement-turned-incumbent. It's their choice. Either way, they're still screwed.



      • nota33 says:

        Since when have right wingers become supporters of voting rights? They don't seem to care when their own party tries to limit the voting rights of democrats, minorities, disabled people, etc.

  2. Moderatus says:

    I don't understand something. Gessler is a snake in the grass, but Hickenlooper, by trying to hold up the works long enough to pack the district with college kids, is completely innocent?

    Isn't Hickenlooper trying to "put his thumb on the scale" as much as anyone?

    This seems like hypocrisy, guys. Sorry.

    • ClubTwitty says:

      When you say 'pack the district with college kids'  Do you mean allow registered voters to excercise their francise? 

    • roccoprahn says:

      What Club says.

      Also, since you don't understand the basis of the recall, I'll help you. I shouldn't have to, but it is what it is.

      The "plaintiffs" are saying, when all the gibbierish is jettisoned, is that these two legislators didn't vote "their way" The recall seeks to set precedence, thereby allowing lawmakers to be recalled for the "wrong vote".

      Even though it was cast in chambers, in session, by an elected representative.

      That even though there are legal problems with their recall, it should go through anyway "because we want what we want". Tantrums included.

      That good old " republican law and order", "common sense conservative", "we're a nation of laws" gun goon rationale.

      Or in plain goober speak, "Our way or the highway".

    • Half Glass Full says:

      Moderatus, do you think there's complete moral equivalency between DENYING people the right to vote and ENCOURAGING it? If so, you fit in nicely with Mr. Gessler and today's modern Republican Party.

    • Gray in Mountains says:

      As soon as Hick would set a date it would begin costing the voters money. If the jucge, or another judge throwns the thing out then that money is wasted. Hick is being prudent

  3. mamajama55 says:

    In reply to Moderatus: the way recall elections are supposed to work is that the same voters who voted a person in, are supposed to be given the opportunity to vote them out. Therefore, the college students, who were and are part of the total electorate of Morse's district, are entitled by the spirit and letter of the law to vote on the recall election.

    Bullshit1: Which law are you saying that the Supremes will uphold? The constitutional language?

  4. mamajama55 says:

    For all the hardcore political dorks: You can watch the video of the recall hearing on 9 news.

  5. mamajama55 says:

    Damn. Petition language is constitutionally valid, court rules.

    • roccoprahn says:

      What's next?

    • Hawkeye-X says:

      The court ruled incorrectly. 

      CSC will issue a royal smackdown.



    • Harley says:

      O.K., a couple of dumb questions:

      1. Can Morse and Giron run in this so-called election?

      2. If they can come up with the most votes—do they retake their legilative seats?

      Don't mind me–I'm in a learning curve/twist about this.


      • mamajama55 says:

        It's not really a dumb question. The ballots for this recall election may be quite confusing.

        For Giron and Morse to keep their seats, a majority has to vote "No" on the recall question on the ballot. It's a little confusing, but think of it as: A "Yes" vote means "Yes, recall this person," and a "No" vote means "No,keep Giron (or Morse) in office".

        To add to the confusion, the ballots might have all kinds of random people on them in alphabetical order, because anyone that can come up with 600 signatures (Gessler's latest greatest bottom line) can get on the ballot. Someone with 600 Facebook friends that live in the district and are registered voters could run if he/she can get the signatures to Gessler by July 29.

      • gaf says:

        Colo. Const. Art. XXI, Section 3 (2012)
        Section 3. Resignation – filling vacancy

        There shall be printed on the official ballot, as to every officer whose recall is to be voted on, the words, "Shall (name of person against whom the recall petition is filed) be recalled from the office of (title of the office)?" Following such question shall be the words, "Yes" and "No", on separate lines, with a blank space at the right of each, in which the voter shall indicate, by marking a cross (X), his vote for or against such recall.

        On such ballots, under each question, there shall also be printed the names of those persons who have been nominated as candidates to succeed the person sought to be recalled; but no vote cast shall be counted for any candidate for such office, unless the voter also voted for or against the recall of such person sought to be recalled from said office. The name of the person against whom the petition is filed shall not appear on the ballot as a candidate for the office.

        If the vote had in such recall elections shall recall the officer then the candidate who has received the highest number of votes for the office thereby vacated shall be declared elected for the remainder of the term…

        Candidates for the office may be nominated by petition, as now provided by law, which petition shall be filed in the office in which petitions for nomination to office are required by law to be filed not less than fifteen days before such recall election.

  6. ArapaGOP says:

    FAIL! The people's right to recall is fundamental. The elections will go forward!

    Democrats look like fools for trying to usurp the will of the people on a technicality.

    • roccoprahn says:

      Fiscal conservatism?

      November 2014 election would be prudent, less burdensome on the taxpayers.


      The goonies want what they want when they want it.

    • Hawkeye-X says:

      What will of the people? Your NRA gun nuts?

      By failing to name a successor, Republicans run the risk of getting a replacement named by Hick – and you know Brophy is a small-time and won't even come close to  sniffing Hick's butt.


  7. ArapaGOP says:

    The judge's ruling is devastating for Morse and Giron. This was a weak attempt to undermine voting rights and it is being rightfully rejected.

  8. mamajama55 says:

    Appeals, as you said. Brandon Rittiman says that the Colo. Supreme Court has 3 days to decide whether to consider an appeal. Gessler will be pressing to hold elections soonest, Dems will stall hoping to combine with November general election, which timing probably is in line with statutes.

    Giron and Morse campaigns continue with direct voter contact and other outreach, activating base, registering voters, cleaning up voter database, etc. Recall proponents get ready to put out some really nasty ads and billboards. Both sides have plenty of $$ from 527 groups.

    If combined with November general election, it will be MUCH cheaper. Everyone gets a mail in ballot, whether we have two elections or one.

    Good news: Gessler's writ of mandamus is denied. He can't bully Hick into setting a date early.


    • Hawkeye-X says:

      I think Rittiman will appeal it all the way. I don't understand Hyatt's reasoning, when it's clear that there is settled case law and Hyatt wants to punt it up to the Colorado Supreme Court where it will issue a royal smackdown of Hyatt's pathetic ruling. 

      11 years later, Colorado Supreme Court HAS to revisit this same issue again. And will rule the same way again. It's in the Constitution, and Hyatt needs to study it, and not follow party politics.


  9. Any word as to the rationale behind approving the language, given the seemingly obvious wording requirement in the Constitution itself?

  10. mamajama55 says:

    Replying to Phoenix's question: I don't speak Lawyer. But, from reviewing the tweets of people who do speak it, and watching the video of the proceedings, this is the sense I got of Judge Hyatt's rationale:

    • Multiple Secs of State have approved that recall wording.
    • The intent of the organizers was not to mislead the public; they acted in good faith. *
    • He cited a number of previous cases, which apparently convinced him that precedent existed.

    Now some of y'all have a short attention span, so before you jump all over my post, note that:

    *I don't agree that the petition organizers acted in good faith and weren't trying to mislead the public!

    First of all, I don't think that the Denver Republican lawyers give a rat's ass about guns in rural counties. It was simply a convenient issue to get the base riled up. 2nd, Morse and Giron were chosen, not because of any misconduct warranting recall, but simply because they were seen as vulnerable. This is all about partisan politics, not guns or 2nd amendment rights or any of that. 3rd, there was a TON of misleading information put out, and still is: "They're coming to take our guns." "Bloomberg's pulling the strings." "Giron wants to send immigrant kids to college and your kids will have to pay their way." And on ad nauseum.

    Gilbert Ortiz, our Pueblo County Clerk, requested September 10 as the recall election date. I'd prefer that it be combined with the November election, but we can live with it. Giron's going to be re-elected. Morse might squeak by. It'll all be a bunch of pole vaulting over mouse turds.

    The appeals won't amount to much, is my prediction.

    • nota33 says:

      Angela will win her recall in democratic Pueblo. Single issue right wing extremists don't determine elections. The majority of democrats are not single issue voting gun nuts.

      • Curmudgeon says:

        And the Democrats will still have a majority in the Senate, even after 2014, so this will serve no other purpose than to let the right wingers pretend, even for a little while, that their core constituency isn't dying off. 

        • nota33 says:

          The funny thing is you got these radical right wingers claiming that Morse and Giron ignored the majority of their constituents. It's BS. 99% of the people who want these two senators recalled are republicans and most likely didn't vote for Giron and Morse to begin with. The right wing gun rights fringe is nothing more than a loud vocal minority fringe. These people who want these two senators recalled are right wing single issue low information voters.

  11. DavidThi808 says:

    Here's hoping both comfortably win. If that occurs, it's a total smack down of the gun nuts and the Republicans by the voters. And it will make legislators more willing to consider additional gun regulation next session.

  12. nota33 says:

    The one that looks like he may be in a bit of trouble is Morse just because his district is known as a conservative one, but he won the first time, he can do it again.. The gun nuts must be mad knowing that a gay liberal democrat won in a conservative district. The gun nuts love to brag about how they got more people to sign the recall petition than the amount of people who voted for Morse last election. They fail to admit that 6000  of the signatures for the recall petition for John Morse were thrown out. Giron represents a democratic district, so she will most likely win her recall. I love it how these gun nuts think they are ones that decide elections. They are a vocal minority and that's all they are. The only reason why they may have a chance against Morse is just because the district Morse represents is conservative. You gotta see the claims these people are making. They think they are going to vote out all of the Colorado democrats in 2014 and they think Tom Tancredo is going to be Hick in a landslide. Their words, not mine.

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