Recalled: Dem state senators pay for support of gun control
Two Democratic lawmakers in Colorado, including the president of the senate, were recalled by voters on Tuesday, due entirely to their support for stricter gun control legislation that passed the legislature earlier this year.
According to unofficial results, voters in Colorado Springs favored recalling state Sen. John Morse, the body's president, by 51 percent to 49 percent. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, state Sen. Angela Giron of Pueblo was defeated in her recall election, 56 percent to 44 percent.
The Colorado Republican Party called the vote results "a loud and clear message to out-of-touch Democrats across the nation" in a statement released late Tuesday. Colorado's Democratic governor, John Hickenlooper, said he was "disappointed by the outcome of the recall elections" before calling on state residents to "refocus again on what unites Coloradans -- creating jobs, educating our children, creating a healthier state -- and on finding ways to keep Colorado moving forward."
"We as the Democratic Party will continue to fight," Morse told supporters in Colorado Springs as he conceded the race. Republican Bernie Herpin, a former Colorado Springs city councilman, will replace him. Giron will be replaced by Republican George Rivera, a former deputy police chief in Pueblo.
"We will win in the end because we are on the right side," Giron said in her concession speech.
The votes marked the first time in Colorado history that a state lawmaker faced a recall effort and the biggest backlash in states that passed tougher gun-control laws following two mass shootings last year - at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater and a Newtown, Conn., elementary school.
Democratic-leaning Connecticut, Maryland, and New York also passed tougher gun laws without a recall effort making a state ballot.
The states' effort came after President Obama's unsuccessful attempt to get Congress to pass stricter federal laws - including tighter background checks and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity gun magazines.
In Colorado Springs, the majority of registered voters are Democrats, but many are conservative-leaning. 23 percent of them, in fact, signed the petition to recall Morse, according to The Denver Post.
The National Rifle Association and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg lined up on opposite sides of the recall effort, led by gun-rights advocates upset over the legislation and how the hearings were conducted.
Both state legislators voted for 15-round limits on ammunition magazines and for expanded background checks on private gun sales.
I will cause a stir and say what I said when the Wisconsin recall efforts were being made against Republicans; recalls should be reserved for those legislators who commit crimes or act in a morally repugnant way. Short circuiting the regular Democratic process by trying to dump a lawmaker due to a vote or two - even on an issue like gun control - makes regular elections virtually meaningless. Why bother to elect a state senator every four years when organized groups - many of them from outside the state - can alter the results by spending a lot of money and getting a small, committed coterie of voters to turn out in a special election?
The integrity of the process is damaged even when the result is in your partisan favor. So just don't complain when attempts are made to recall GOP reps for an abortion vote, or some other issue that stirs that national consciousness of liberals. They are looking for payback and are likely to find it.