Colorado is Pissed: Recall Edition

The vote is over in Colorado and State Senators John Morse and Angela Giron have become the first State legislators to ever be recalled. Former Colorado Springs councilman Bernie Herpin will replace Morse and George Rivera, a former Pueblo police officer, will replace Giron.

In the midst of all of the hyperbole there are two contradictory but vital points:

Firstly, these were not overwhelming victories and they only involved a small number of voters. John Morse was defeated 51%-49% in an election that only 15% of registered voters participated in. That means he lost by around 343 votes. Angela Giron was defeated 56%-44%, in a predominantly Democrat district, although only around 30% participated in the election. The recall votes really were a knife fight in a telephone booth. Two very vocal and diametrically opposed minorities banging on each other. I am shocked that voter participation was not much higher considering the issues at stake and the amount of recall advertising that has deluged Colorado. Which leads me to the second point.

These recalls were important. Correctly or incorrectly, the gun control issue in Colorado was perceived as a sea-change in America. A western state, with a long history of gun ownership and personal freedom, was finally onboard with the “enlightened” portions of the country that restrict gun ownership. The small problem was, Colorado did not want new restrictions on firearms. The recall was the first in the 100 years since Colorado adopted the constitutional recall provision. It takes a lot to get average people that fired up. A legislative attack on freedom and inordinate amounts of outside influence seem to have done it.

Once the media was wound up it did not take long for outside money to start contesting a very small, local election. It is estimated that Michael Bloomberg contributed more than $350,000 to the anti-gun efforts while the NRA spent close to $300,000 on mailers and phone calls. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Total outside of the state donations to Giron and Morse are estimated at around $3 million. Some people in other places really wanted to make a point. That just pissed off Colorado even more than being ignored by their State Legislators.

So a small victory in a big fight, but perhaps one with a state and national importance out of proportion to its size. It will have effects on upcoming state elections, most importantly the Governor’s election. It is also a wakeup call to voters in other states. Keep an eye on your legislators. The fight is not even close to over. The same ilk of people that contributed over $3 million to anti-freedom causes have much more where that came from…

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