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November 12, 2014 12:06 PM UTC

Scuttlebutt: Did Bill Cadman Shaft Recall Hero Bernie Herpin?

  • by: Colorado Pols
Sen. Bernie Herpin (R).
Sen. Bernie Herpin (R).

Even though Colorado Republicans took over the state senate in this year's elections by a single seat, Democrats have consoled themselves with two wins both symbolically and strategically important: taking back the two seats lost in last year's recall elections in Colorado Springs and Pueblo. In Pueblo's Senate District 3, Democrats winning back the seat was practically a foregone conclusion: the district is overwhelmingly Democrats, and the recall would not have succeeded there were it not for Byzantine political squabbles in Pueblo that further weakened the incumbent.

In SD-11, covering urban Colorado Springs and relatively liberal Manitou Springs, the numbers don't favor Democrats nearly as much, and recall winner Bernie Herpin had at least some hope of keeping his seat. This is, after all, the seat that John Morse barely held in 2010 in addition to having lost last year. Reapportionment shored up the seat for Democrats to some degree, but it was still by far the more competitive of the two. What's more, these seats had enormous symbolic value after the nationwide attention paid to the 2013 recalls. In the aftermath of last week's elections, the ouster of both recall winners has been cited nationally as evidence that the Republican wave was at least partially broken in Colorado.

Part of the consoling irony for Democrats in Herpin's ouster by a wide margin a week ago is the man who ousted him: Michael Merrifield, a former state representative who also served as the state organizer for national gun control group Mayors Against Illegal Guns. All told, the gun lobby's "wave of fear" strategy of using the Colorado recalls to forestall gun safety legislation in other states may be what took the real beating last Tuesday:

Now it’s gun-control activists who are crowing.

Mark Glaze, former executive director of the group Everytown for Gun Safety, said the results showed that when a significant portion of the electorate turns out, rather than a small, agitated minority, support for something like universal background checks for gun buyers is a politically winning position. (That was part of the package Hickenlooper, who was reelected Tuesday, signed into law.)

“The message remains that the [National Rifle Association] can bully politicians or buy them for a few pieces of silver but they have no influence over the general public,” Glaze said.

Bottom line: sources tell us that internal El Paso County rivalries may have kept the Senate Republicans from doing more to help Bernie Herpin this year, even after he became a national hero for the party because of his recall victory. In a year where money was lavished on Republican legislative candidates, there was apparently nothing in the way of outside money to defend this particular member of the GOP caucus in a wave Republican year. Responsibility for that, to the extent it's true, would fall on incoming Colorado Senate President Bill Cadman as the chief strategist of the GOP's Senate campaign efforts.

There is other evidence that Cadman didn't like and/or trust Bernie Herpin much, like Herpin's assignment to the frequently toxic Senate State Affairs Committee this year while Pueblo's George Rivera got more politically defensible assignments. Now, maybe the GOP saw data that made them write this seat off early, but we can tell you that Democrats made the full investment in SD-11 as with races they considered competitive. And if you think Pueblo's intra-Democratic relations are sketchy, compare them with the backstab fest that is the El Paso County Republican Party.

If Cadman did cede the one seat the gun lobby could have held on to from last year's historic recall elections, especially for (to put it diplomatically) nonstrategic reasons, we can't see how that will be good for the already tense partnership between the Dudley Browns of the world and the Colorado GOP.


27 thoughts on “Scuttlebutt: Did Bill Cadman Shaft Recall Hero Bernie Herpin?

  1. I see the arrogance at Colorado Pols has not lessened since the election. Failure to heed the lessons of the last two years will only lead Democrats to disaster. Do not place your faith in Bloomberg's lackey. Will he be next to be recalled?

    Do yourselves a favor, Democrats. Repeal the mag ban as the first order of business in 2015.

    1. I don't think arrogance has anything to do with it. The gun lobby was able to recall two state senators in 2013 because the turnout in such elections is very low. Therefore, the true believes, in this case gun enthusiasts, turned out to vote. Those elections said nothing about where the general voting public stood on the gun issues. Its obvious from the election results that the gun legislation enacted by the General Assembly played virtually no part in the 2014 elections and won't be an issue in the next election.

      One can certainly argue that some of the bills passed two years ago won't have much of an impact on crime or horrendous events like the Aurora theater shootings but that is precisely why the public isn't rising-up to throw out legislators who voted for the bills. On the flip side, one of the bills, the one that closed the background check loopholes, has overwhelming public support and is in essence a cause for most voters to support legislators who voted for that bill. And third, the fear mongering by the NRA and the RMGO that the government was coming to take away your guns proved to be an issue that fell flat on its face for one simple reason – it was and is a lie. The overwhelming majority of voters know that.

    2. "Do yourselves a favor." What is that supposed to mean? Did the gun nut voterbase skip 2014? Are they regrouping for 2016? Face it: most Coloradans want regulations that make gun ownership safer. 

    3. Why?

      You lost the Governor's race and the State House. You only won the State Senate by one seat. Not exactly the rebuke of of the Democratic "overreach" you had hoped for. 

    4. It makes me real happy knowing that NRA parasites Bernie Herpin and George Rivera were thrown out of office. Makes me even happier than the guy who beat Bernie Herpin used to work for Bloomberg's mayors against illegal guns. 😉

    5. How about a ballot initiatives for a gun violence restraining order based on California's – there is a policy that is directed at incidents like Auora and Arapahoe High.

      Are the GOP and the gun lobby serious about addressing guns and the mentally ill/unstable/dangerous or not?

      And if not a ballot initiative, how about the Dem controlled house fire up that debate – let's talk guns GOP, beginning with guns and the mentally ill/unstable/dangerous and how a gun violence restraining order could help Colorado avoid more Auroras, Columbines and Arapahoe Highs.

      Or is the GOP just a depository for gun lobby money rather than a body that is carrying out its duty to represent the people of Colorado and solve their problems, including making their communities safe?

      Is the GOP with the dangerously mentally ill/unstable and the gun industry or with the people of Colorado?


  2. Q: Did Bill Cadman Shaft Recall Hero Bernie Herpin?

    A: Yes, and thank you A*hole Cadman. 

    Merrifield kicks ass and is a super-smart, energetic and passionate Democrat. He, and this bit of Con Strategery, will drive EPC Cons bonkers……..and, well, we know how close they are to being committed to the state infirmary as it is, so this can only be good.

    And Merrifield will unboubtedtly show Dems and voters what a stiff backbone is all about.


    1. Merrifield is a proud liberal Democrat and ran as one–unlike some other Dems this year. He made sure he controlled the message of his own campaign and refused pressure from the Denver power structure to shape his message. He has intense support because he has a backbone.

      As for Herpin and Cadman, I don't know. But the fact is Herpin's only election win prior to the recall was for a city council seat that includes part of HD-15–"Dr. Chaps" territory. So that's Herpin's crowd. The makeup of SD-11 is much different from that, and Herpin does not fit the district. I only heard rumors of polling about fifth-hand, but the word on the street early was that Merrifield was leading. Cadman may have just been smart enough to cut his losses. However, the internal friction theory fits Cadman's profile as well.

  3. I do expect the magazine limit to be repealed. Then RMGO can declare victory. I won't grieve that one much because I consider it the least beneficial of the gun safety legislations. Cops will continue to refuse to attempt enforcement

    1. I'd like the Dem controlled house to introduce a gun violence restraining order bill, modeled on Calif's just enacted law that was a reaction to the Santa Barbara shooting. The bill is meant to help family, friends and authorities prevent more public shootings like Aurora, Columbine and Arapahoe High. 

      Let the GOP defend their reasons for not voting to end the scourge of dangerously mentally ill/unstable accessing guns and doing harm.

      I don't think they can, but they will recite the words from the script the gun lobby has written for them as best they can.

      Then Colorado voters can decide who is the party more concerned with their health and safety – the party that allows the dangerously mentally ill/unstable easy access to guns, or the party that prevents that and keeps communities safe from future Auroras, Columbines and Arapahoe Highs. 

    2. I do believe that would be a strategically smart move for Dems… it would effectively send the gun nuts back to whence they came and keep a large portion of the legislation intact….

      1. That's ridiculous. The two senators who gained their seats in a gun-control recall lost their seats and the governor who signed them won. No one with any political acumen would call abandoning any of these measures a smart move. The message would only be to embolden gun nuts.

        1. Abandoning a failed/flawed policy is a sign of intelligence. Its when you continue doing the same old things and expecting different results that is insani…uh… frustrating….

          1. Just because a law is difficult to enforce doesn't mean it's bad policy. Besides that, your argument isn't based on policy, it's based on politics. Asserting that it would be good POLITICS to now abandon gun safety measures that the majority of Coloradans support and that have done no demonstrable long-term harm to Democrats is insan….uh, frustrating. And the last thing it would do would be to make RMGO back into the woodwork.

            1. If you read the law its impossible to enforce which makes it bad policy. It is just quite simply NOT a gun safety measure, with decades of proof to support that claim. 

              I doubt RMGO or the NRA are going anywhere, no matter what you do… but the yahoo single issue gun voter would disperse until the next time you kicked the hornets nest…

              I just did a google search that shows most Coloradans support a repeal of the ban:



                  1. You got a deal!  But will the ammosexuals feel comfortable putting constitutional rights like the Second Amendment to a popular vote?  Constitutional rights protect the minority and shouldn't be at the whim of a majority?  

                    And then there is the RMGO and NRA's track record….remember Amendment 22 back in 2000 (the background checks at gun shows initiative)?  Be careful what you wish for…….

                    1. I did not think you considered this issue a Constitutional right. Now that I do, I believe you are correct. How is it that you support this law? Perhaps you would feel different if a right YOU valued was violated….

                      That tolerance thing is a two way street….

  4. Senators have noted that when they brought in visitors,especially little kids, they couldn't help but ask why the minority side of the chambers was always showing such bad behavior.  We're beginning what you could call the era of the frat boys.

  5. Compromise: extend your magazine limit to 30 rounds. It would let Democrats save face while not restricting the standard capacity magazines sold with many rifles today.

    Democrats have to do something, the mag ban has done too much damage to them politically. Here's a compromise you should consider…

      1. Democrats are too prideful and authoritarian to ever consider it. If they did, I would praise them and it would help them in 2016. Why would I lie about this, or you?

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