Colorado Recall Results: Democratic State Senators Defeated In Major Victory For NRA

9/13/13
 
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from The Huffington Post,
9/10/13:

The first recall election in Colorado’s history on Tuesday marked a stunning victory for the National Rifle Association and gun rights activists, with the ouster of two Democrats — Senate President John Morse (Colorado Springs) and state Sen. Angela Giron (Pueblo). The two lawmakers were the target of separate recall fights over their support for stricter gun laws earlier this year.

“The highest rank in a democracy is citizen, not senate president,” Morse said in his concession speech, as his supporters solemnly watched, some shedding tears.

What originally began as local political fallout over the Democratic-controlled legislature’s comprehensive gun control package quickly escalated into a national referendum on gun policy. Morse and Giron both voted in favor of the legislation, signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) in March, which requires background checks for all firearm purchases and bans ammunition magazines over 15 rounds.

Gun rights activists initially sought to recall four Democrats they perceived as vulnerable, but only collected the required signatures to challenge Morse and Giron.

While voter turnout is typically low in recall elections, Democrats accused pro-recall activists of engaging in voter suppression tactics. A big blow to Morse and Giron was a ruling that prohibited voting by mail in the election, even though Colorado voters have overwhelmingly relied on mail-in ballots in the past. The decision ignored a state law passed earlier this year that guaranteed a ballot by mail to every registered voter in Colorado, including in a recall election.

A get-out-the-vote canvasser for Giron, who requested anonymity out of safety concerns, said gun rights activists also engaged in “extreme voter intimidation” at polling centers in Pueblo on Tuesday.

This national focus meant outside spending reached unprecedented levels in the Colorado recall, with both sides viewing the election as must-win.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a staunch supporter of stricter gun laws, donated $350,000 to Morse and Giron. Billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad gave a separate $250,000 check to help the legislators, while Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) repeatedly issued fundraising calls for Giron in emails to her supporters. The Denver Post reported Monday that those in Morse and Giron’s corner had collected nearly $3 million, while proponents of the recall raised about $540,000.

“One thing is clear from the Morse defeat: Mike Bloomberg is political poison,” NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said in a statement.

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