Red-on-Red Recriminations Over Recall Winners’ Defeats Go On

Sen.-elect Michael Merrifield.

Sen.-elect Michael Merrifield.

Conservative news site reports on continuing anger among Republicans both in and outside the state of Colorado over the failure of the Colorado Republican Party to defend the two seats won in the historic 2013 recall elections–in which sitting Colorado legislators were swept from office for the first time in a wave of backlash over gun safety legislation:

Although Republicans won control of the Colorado state senate during the midterms, pockets of resistance cost them both seats they'd picked up during the 2013 recall efforts. Some of the resistance was in a senate district–Colorado Springs–and some of it was in the state Republican party headquarters…

Herpin says the loss was due to the fact that guns were simply "not much of an issue" in his district this time around. But this misses the larger point, which is that Republicans have to make guns an issue, especially in a race where Herpin's opponent had ties to Michael Bloomberg.

Merrifield "had been a Colorado coordinator for [Bloomberg’s] Mayors Against Illegal Guns."

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

We've talked about the enormous black eye the victory of former Mayors Against Illegal Guns state coordinator Michael Merrifield over 2013 recall victor Bernie Herpin represents, being by far the more competitive of the two seats picked up last year by the GOP. Republicans don't want to talk about it now, but we'll say it again: the 2013 recalls were the biggest news event at the state legislative level in Colorado in many years. The national attention these recalls earned last year should make the flipping of both of these seats right back to Democrats–especially Merrifield with his former relationship with MAIG–big, big news. Instead, it seems like the significance of this conflicting result in an otherwise great year for the GOP has yet to fully sink in.

With that said, at least one major operative from the 2013 recalls is sowing fresh dissent against Colorado Republicans, not just over Merrifield, but the failure of Republicans to defend Pueblo's SD-3 seat:

Breitbart News spoke to recall spokeswoman Jennifer Kerns on November 12. She says: "The state Republican Party party chair lived up to his threat to not fund operations in Pueblo because of the 2013 recall elections, which state party did not support." And although the Pueblo County Republican Party chair was able to shame the state party into sending a meager amount of funding late in the cycle, Kerns said it was considered "too little, too late."

Now the truth is, of course, that there was no way Republicans were going to keep heavily Democratic SD-3 in any general election, and the pickup of this seat in last year's recall had as much to do with intra-Democratic squabbling in Pueblo as it did anti-gun control backlash. But we suspect that nuance will be completely lost on Breitbart's national audience, and the comments of recall spokesperson Jennifer "CAPartyGirl" Kerns will further fuel already burning discord on the Colorado GOP's gun-crazy right flank. Herpin's defeat, and the speculated role of follow El Paso County Republican Bill Cadman in hanging Herpin out to dry, certainly fit this emerging narrative.

Think of it as Dudley Brown's consolation prize.


15 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ZappateroZappatero says:

    We laugh in your face, Republicans!!!!!!!!!!

  2. FrankUnderwood says:

    They made the supreme sacrifice so we could have Neville and Waters-Woods elected…..

  3. NotHopeful says:

    It will be hard for Ms. Woods to hold the JeffCo seat in 2016, which is when she has to run again if she wants to stay in the senate. And I don't see any other Democratic seat that would be all that vulnerable to the Republicans in the next election. So it's looking like GOP control of the state senate is a one-out, at least for now.

    Bill Cadman is no statesman. Nor is he all that good of a politician. His leadership of the senate is likely to be divisive and he probably won't succeed in pushing enough bills through than can also clear the Dem-controlled House to make any sort of a case for GOP legislative competence.

  4. ModeratusModeratus says:

    Gerrymandering is the only thing keeping Democrats in Colorado with a hand on power.

    • denverco says:

      You seriously are going to complain about gerrymandering after seeing what the national gop did in the House. Dems got over a million more votes in 2012 and yet the gop maintained control. The Colorado gop couldn't even hold on to the two recall seats that they bragged about so much last year.

    • FrankUnderwood says:

      Gerrymandering?  Is that how Hick beat Both Ways?

      • Andrew Carnegie says:

        No, but it does have something to do with the State House.

        I have no complaints, just expect the same treatment when the time comes to draw lines again.

        • Republican 36 says:

          The Republican Party has no else but themselves to blame for the present state house and senate districts in Colorado. After the 2010 census, the Reapportionment Commission was made-up of eleven members – 5 Republicans, 5 Democrats and one independent. The independent chaired the Commission and insisted on drawing as many competitive districts as possible. He was the swing vote.

          The chair got what he wanted and, if memory serves me correctly, he was able to convince one Republican to vote in favor of the plan that was sent on to the Colorado Supreme Court for approval, but the Republicans decided to oppose the plan and convinced the Colorado Supreme Court to reject it and remand it to the Commission. At that point, the chair sided with the Democrats and they drew districts that favored them. The lesson is the Republicans should have left well enough alone. Under the original plan, there would have been far more competitive seats and in an election like we had two weeks ago, the Republicans could have won a majority in both houses.

          Your correct that the normal assumption is one party draws the lines in its favor and the other party must live with it for the next decade; but in this case, the Republicans badly miscalculated. They could have been in a much better competitive situation but instead took the tact we must oppose anything the Democrats favor. By doing that they got what the Democrats wanted to do to them in the first place but which the chair had prevented.

    • I already posted that the prime reason Neville won SD-16 is that it was redistricted to be competitive – R+1 if I recall. So quitcherbitchin' about gerrymandering – redistricting gave y'all a better shot at the State Senate.

  5. gertie97 says:

    R-36: nice try, but you're confusing AC with those facty things.

  6. gaf says:


    Herpin says the loss was due to the fact that guns simply "weren't much of an issue in his district this time around."

    Truth is, in the recall election, guns were an issue only for the 9,000 fired-up gun people who voted for the recall in a very low-turnout special election. Unfortunately, the majority of folks, for whom guns were not an issue, didn't bother to vote. In this regular election, those 9,000 gun voters–for whom guns may still have been a big issue–still came out but they were soundly beaten by the larger number of folks who always knew the gun laws were reasonable safety measures.

  7. This story is right on target; if Republicans are infighting over the loss of these two districts – especially the Pueblo district – then they've got a serious disconnect from the clue server.

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