Supporters of the effort to recall Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) have until September 6 to submit 631,266 signatures in order to force the recall election. The recall effort was originally approved for circulation on July 8, and it is led by a group called Dismiss Polis.
According to the recall petition, the group is trying to recall Polis because he signed legislation related to firearms, oil and gas, the national popular vote, and sex education during the 2019 legislative session.
- The firearms bill was designed to temporarily remove firearms from people who were deemed a threat to themselves or others. Polis signed this bill in April 2019.
- The oil and gas bill was designed to give local governments more control over regulating the industry. It also mandates that the state emphasize safety over promoting oil and gas production. Polis signed this bill in April 2019.
- The national popular vote bill was designed to award Colorado’s electoral college votes in the presidential election to the winner of the national popular vote. Polis signed this bill in March 2019.
- The sex education bill was designed to update the state’s curriculum for school districts that offer that education. The bill added instruction on such things as sexual orientation, consent, STDs, and pregnancy prevention. Polis signed this bill in May 2019.
After the recall was announced, the governor’s office issued the following statement: “The Governor is focused on governing for all of Colorado and ensuring that every Coloradan – no matter their zip code or political affiliation – has the opportunity to succeed. During his first six months in office, the Governor has created bipartisan solutions to lower the cost of health care, ensure every kid can go to free full-day kindergarten this fall, and cut taxes for small businesses. The Governor will continue to reach across the aisle and hopes that, by tackling key issues for Coloradans, we will continue to bring people together and focus on what unites us.”
Dismiss Polis is the only group actively collecting signatures in order to meet the September 6 deadline. A different group that also supports recalling Polis, Official Recall Colorado Governor Jared Polis, recently donated $29,657 of the $108,000 it had received for the recall to Colorado for Trump, which is a group that supports President Donald Trump’s (R) re-election campaign.
Three Colorado state senators—Leroy Garcia (D), Brittany Pettersen (D), and Pete Lee (D)—are also facing official recall campaigns in 2019. Two state representatives—Rochelle Galindo (D) and Tom Sullivan (D)—were previously targeted for recall earlier this year. The recall targeting Galindo ended after she resigned in May 2019. The recall targeting Sullivan ended in June 2019 after recall supporters abandoned the effort.
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. Polis succeeded John Hickenlooper (D) as governor in 2019. He won the 2018 election with 53.4% of the vote. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.
From 2003 to 2018, Ballotpedia tracked 17 gubernatorial recall efforts. During that time, two recalls made the ballot and one governor was successfully recalled. Former California Gov. Gray Davis (D) was recalled in 2003 and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). In 2012, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was retained in a recall election. The only other governor to ever be successfully recalled was former North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier (R) in 1921. Five gubernatorial recall efforts are currently underway in 2019.