Supporters of the effort to recall Colorado state Sen. Leroy Garcia (D) have until October 18 to submit 13,506 signatures in order to force a recall election. The recall effort was approved for circulation on August 19, and it is being led by Susan Carr, Victor Head, and Ernest Mascarenas.
According to the recall petition, supporters are trying to recall Garcia because he voted for legislation related to oil and gas regulation. The oil and gas bill gives local governments more control over regulating the industry and also mandates that the state emphasize safety over promoting oil and gas production. The bill was signed by Gov. Jared Polis (D) in April 2019. The petition also argues that Garcia has been involved with multiple lawsuits that have cost taxpayers thousands of dollars.
Another recall petition targeting Sen. Garcia was introduced by Marjorie and Tammy Klein in April 2019. As of October 2019, that recall had not been approved for circulation by the secretary of state.
After the first recall was announced against Sen. Garcia, he said, “As the first Latino president of the Senate, I will not allow special-interest groups from Denver and El Paso County to silence me with threats of a recall.”
Gov. Jared Polis (D), state Rep. Rochelle Galindo (D), state Rep. Tom Sullivan (D), state Sen. Pete Lee (D), and state Sen. Brittany Pettersen (D) all faced recall campaigns in 2019 but none of the recall efforts reached the ballot. Signatures were not submitted in either the Polis, Sullivan, Lee, or Pettersen recall efforts. The recall targeting Galindo ended after she resigned her seat in May 2019.
Since 2011, 85 recall petitions have been filed against state lawmakers. Nine recalls were successful, nine were defeated at the ballot, 58 did not go to a vote, and nine 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. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.