Colorado recall becoming referendum on guns

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from The Washington Post,

In the wake of mass shootings in suburban Denver and Newtown, Conn., last year, Colorado became one of the few states to pass new gun control legislation. Now, the architects of that legislation face recall elections that have become proxy wars for conservatives angry about the new gun rules, among other liberal initiatives the Democratic-controlled state legislature passed earlier this year.

On Sept. 10, voters will head to the polls to decide the fates of state Senate President John Morse, of Colorado Springs, and Sen. Angela Giron, of Pueblo, the first two legislators to be subject to a recall in Colorado’s 137-year history. After the legislative session, conservative activists gathered more than 10,000 signatures on recall petitions targeting Morse, and nearly 13,500 signatures targeting Giron, well over the threshold required by state law to force both senators onto the ballot.

The outcome of the recalls will influence the future of the debate over gun control legislation in Colorado and in other states; if two pro-gun control state legislators lose after backing the new laws, other gun control advocates may hesitate before they pursue their own measures. That fact has drawn the attention of outside groups on both sides of the aisle. Altogether, the two sides have spent nearly $2 million on the two races since Aug. 1, according to the Colorado secretary of state’s office — most of it coming from high-profile outside groups with a stake in the gun debate.

Gun rights organizations have funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars through local front groups; the National Rifle Association alone has spent more than $108,000 on campaign advertisements and mailers, while Americans for Prosperity, the conservative group run by brothers Charles and David Koch, has mailed its own advertisements to area voters.

On the left, labor and teachers unions have funded a group called We Can Do Better Colorado. The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee has sent $250,000 to two groups opposing the recalls. And on Tuesday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he would contribute $350,000 to another Democratic outside group, Taxpayers for Responsible Democracy.

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