An effort to recall state Rep. Tom Sullivan (D) from the Colorado House of Representatives ended on June 11. Kristine Brown, the state’s Republican Party vice chair and leader of the recall, said in a Facebook post, “While we are pulling the recall today to focus on other essential efforts, Sullivan does not get a free pass. 2020 is the year to oust him, with the support of voters who now know how extreme he is.”
The recall was approved for circulation by the secretary of state’s office on May 13. Supporters had a July 12 deadline to collect 10,035 signatures to force a recall election. According to recall supporters, the effort against Sullivan was due to his support or sponsorship of four specific bills, including legislation designed to temporarily remove guns from people who are deemed a threat to themselves or others. That bill, which created Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) in Colorado, passed the House by a 38-25 margin with all votes in favor from Democrats and 23 Republicans joining with 2 Democrats in opposition. It was signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis (D) in April.
Sullivan’s son was killed in the 2012 shootings at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater. He was elected to the state House in 2018, defeating then-incumbent Cole Wist (R) in the general election with 54% of the vote. Wist, who held the seat for three years, co-sponsored an ERPO bill in 2018 and stated on Twitter that he did not support the effort to recall Sullivan.
Four other Democratic state lawmakers are being targeted for recall for their support of the legislation designed to give local governments more control over regulating the oil and gas industry. As of today, none of those recalls have been approved for circulation.
Since 2011, 80 recall petitions have been filed against state lawmakers. Nine recalls were successful, nine were defeated at the ballot, 56 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. Democrats control the state House by a 41-24 margin and the state Senate by a 19-16 margin. Gov. Polis succeeded John Hickenlooper (D) as governor in 2019.