Two recall efforts against Colorado state Rep. Rochelle Galindo (D) ended on May 12 after she resigned her seat amid allegations of sexual misconduct by a former staff member. The first recall was approved by the secretary of state on April 4. Recall supporters had until June 3 to collect 5,696 signatures to force a recall election. A second recall effort against Galindo was launched by Joe Neville, the head of the Values First Colorado political action committee and brother of Senate Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R). The recall was not approved for circulation by the state. Galindo was originally targeted for recall because of her support for an oil and gas regulation bill, a gun bill, as well as legislation related to the national popular vote and sex education.
A different recall effort targeting state Rep. Tom Sullivan (D) was approved for circulation by the state on May 13. He is being targeted for recall due to the same legislation as Galindo. Supporters have until July 12 to collect 10,035 signatures to force a recall election. Four other Democratic state lawmakers are also being targeted for recall over the same legislation. As of May 14, none of those recalls had been approved for circulation by the state.
Sullivan was the main sponsor of the gun bill, which was designed to temporarily remove guns from people who are deemed a threat to themselves or others. Sullivan’s son, Alex, was killed in the 2012 shootings at an Aurora movie theater. The oil and gas bill was designed to give local governments more control over regulating the industry and also mandates that the state emphasize safety over promoting oil and gas production. Both bills were signed by Gov. Jared Polis (D) in April 2019.
Sullivan was elected to District 37 in the state House in 2018. He defeated incumbent Cole Wist (R) in the general election with 54% of the vote. Prior to the 2018 election, Wist had held the seat since 2016.
Since 2011, 79 recall petitions have been filed against state lawmakers. Nine recalls were successful, nine were defeated at the ballot, 55 did not go to a vote, and six are still ongoing. California state Sen. Josh Newman (D) was recalled in 2018. Two Colorado state senators were successfully recalled in 2013.
Colorado became a Democratic trifecta in 2019 after Democrats flipped the state Senate in the 2018 elections. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers. Democrats control the state House by a 41-24 margin and the state Senate by a 19-16 margin. Gov. Jared Polis (D) took over the governor’s office in 2019.