Colorado state Senator becomes eighth legislator targeted for recall in that state this year
Recall efforts are always underway somewhere and that has been particularly true in Colorado in 2019. As described in our Mid-Year Report, Colorado has had the second-most officials targeted for recall through the end of June.
Here’s a recent example. An effort to recall a Colorado state Senator—Pete Lee (D)—was approved for circulation July 12. Supporters have until September 10 to collect 11,304 signatures to force a recall election. Another recall petition targeting another state Senator—Brittany Pettersen (D)—was also approved by the secretary of state July 12 but was withdrawn by petitioners days later. According to The Denver Post, supporters plan to resubmit it.
Recall supporters are targeting Lee because he supported legislation related to firearms, oil and gas, the national popular vote, and sex education during the 2019 legislative session, according to the recall petition. All four bills were signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis (D) in 2019. Polis himself is facing a recall effort regarding the same legislation. According to The Gazette, both recalls are being supported by the Resist Polis political action committee.
Two other Colorado state representatives—Tom Sullivan (D) and Rochelle Galindo (D)—were targeted by recall campaigns earlier this year over the same legislation. The recall targeting Rep. Galindo (D) ended when she resigned her seat in May 2019. The recall targeting state Rep. Sullivan (D) ended in June 2019 after recall supporters halted the effort.
Since 2011, 83 recall petitions—13 in Colorado—have been filed against state lawmakers. Nine recalls were successful, nine were defeated at the ballot, 57 did not go to a vote, and eight 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 gained control of the state Senate in 2018. Democrats control the state House by a 41-24 margin and the state Senate by a 19-16 margin.