Even as Republicans gear up for a recall election against State Sen. John Morse, a Democrat from Colorado Springs, there’s still some argument out there about the validity of the more than 10,000 signatures approved by the Secretary of State to proceed with the recall election.
Catherine Kleinsmith of Colorado Springs, and a member of Morse’s District 11, has filed a legal challenge with the Colorado Secretary of State, seeking to nullify the sufficiency of the signatures.
According to the protest, the Colorado Constitution requires petitions be drafted to include a demand for the election of a successor to the recalled official.
Kleinsmith maintains that while the petition circulated by Robert Harris, Paul Paradis and Daniel Mach addresses their personal views about the basis for the recall, nowhere does it require that an election be held to replace Morse.
“The Constitution is clear, just as the courts are clear: no recall petition is valid without this specific language,” said Mark Grueskin, an election lawyer representing Kleinsmith. “This requirement makes sense. After all, these recall proponents held out the bait of a recall of Sen. Morse without alerting petition signers to what comes next – an expensive election to designate a successor for just one year.”
The recall petition started circulating after Morse, president of the Senate, supported gun control bills in the state Senate. The bills are now state law and include prohibitions of magazines that hold 30 rounds and require background checks for all gun sales, even those between private parties. The Secretary of State certified 10,137 valid signatures on the recall petition, more than the 7,178 needed for the recall. Morse can challenge the validity of the signatures before the election takes place.
But Morse, who is term-limited and serving his year in the General Assembly, has his own supporters.
“It’s just so ironic that these interests, seeking to force an election that most District 11 voters don’t want, would skip over key portions of the Colorado Constitution,” said Christy Le Lait, campaign manager for the issue committee, A Whole Lot of People for John Morse. “This group claims to hold the Constitution so sacred. You have to wonder, since someone inside their organization just breezed through the Constitution and the recall statutes, will they take responsibility for it now?”
Kleinsmith says a recall election – and subsequent election to fill Morse’s position – would be too expensive.
“The citizens of Colorado Springs know full well that recall elections are not a means to solve policy disagreements,” she said. “Our county budget is already strapped and we can hardly afford to meet the basic needs of our community. To spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a recall election is a waste of our limited resources.”
Two other groups started recall petitions against Democrats who voted in favor of the gun legislation. Neither of those attempts has been successful.
But one Colorado Springs resident filed today for Morse’s seat. Jaxine Bubis, a local small business owner, says she plans to run as a Republican in the recall election. She’s been endorsed by a number of Republicans: Sen. Kent Lambert, Sen. Owen Hill, retired Sen. Dave Schultheis, Rep. Janak Joshi, Rep. Dan Nordberg, Rep. Chris Holbert and Rep. Justin Everett. She’s also been endorsed by the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners Political Action Committee.
“I’m prepared to hit the ground running,“ said Bubis in a press release announcing her candidacy. “We’re ready to get our message out to the voters.”
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