Signatures due Friday in Colorado governor recall effort

Supporters of the effort to recall Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) have until November 13 to submit 631,266 signatures to require a recall election. The recall was approved for circulation by Colorado’s secretary of state on September 14.

The recall effort is being organized by Lori Ann Cutunilli and Greg Merschel. Last year, Merschel was part of a different group that tried and failed to recall Polis. The current recall effort criticizes Polis over his use of executive orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Executive orders described in the recall petition include the mask mandate and the closing of businesses and houses of worship due to the pandemic. Merschel said the following on his reasons behind the second recall effort, “He’s [Polis] ruling the state by executive order. He’s usurping the legislature.”

Polis’ office issued the following statement in response to the recall effort, “Since day one, Governor Polis has been focused on delivering real results for Coloradans across the state, and he has done just that. He has delivered on his promise to provide free full-day kindergarten to Colorado’s children regardless of zip code, fought tooth and nail to lower the cost of health care, taken bold climate action putting Colorado on the path to 100% renewable energy by 2040, and cut taxes for small businesses. Now during this unprecedented pandemic, Colorado has been a model for the country thanks to the bold and swift actions taken by Governor Polis including being one of the first states to reopen. Like the majority of Coloradans, the Governor believes that playing politics during this challenging time for our state and country is simply inappropriate and shameful.”

Colorado has a Democratic state government trifecta. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers. Democrats control the state Senate by a 19-16 margin and the state House by a 41-24 margin. Polis was elected as Colorado’s governor in 2018 with 53.4% of the vote.

Sixteen gubernatorial recall efforts are currently underway in 2020. Nine of those efforts are against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). From 2003 to 2019, Ballotpedia tracked 21 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.

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