Colorado recall effort targets another anti-gun state senator

Rosslyn Smith
Last month, two Colorado State Senators, both Democrats, were recalled.  Now State Senator Evie Hudak, who thought she had escaped an earlier recall effort, is back on the hot seat. 

On Monday October 7, the issue committee "Recall Hudak Too" was registered with the Colorado Secretary of State. The original "Recall Evie Hudak" committee was formed on April 7 and is still active. As of September 19, that committee had raised about $6,600 in cash and a little over $7,000 in non-monetary contributions.

Since reopening the effort last week, McAlpine says their biggest problem has been dealing with the large number of volunteers. The committee has learned from the other recall campaigns and is confident of getting the required number of signatures to force a recall election. The petitions are due January 4th, just the legislature's 2014 session begins.

Arrogance towards the voters was a big issue in the successful recalls and Hudak has also come across as arrogant.  This is not a good tactic for a politician who eked out a victory with a mere plurality of votes in 2012 in a race where the libertarian candidate won over 7% of the vote, this confrontation with rape victim.Amanda Collins over a law that made state college campuses gun free zones has made Hudak infamous:

"The question in my life is, and will remain to be, what would have been different if I'd been able to carry my firearm," Collins told the committee. "At some point, I would have been able to stop my attack."

That, she said, would have prevented the perpetrator James Biella of later raping two other women, and killing the third victim, 19-year-old Brianna Dennison.

"How does rendering me defenseless protect you against violent crime?" asked Collins.

Her question was met with silence by Democrat committee members state Sens. Angela Giron of Pueblo, Matt Jones of Louisville and Hudak, and Sen. Rollie Heath, who with state Rep. Claire Levy, both of Boulder, sponsored the bill.

"What we are trying to do is to protect students and teachers from feeling uncomfortable by you carrying a gun to protect yourself,"Harvey said of the Democrat-controlled committee's intent.

"I apologize," said Harvey who explained that the Democrats would weight the rights of those who oppose concealed carry weapons on campus over Collins right to self defense.

"Thank you for sharing your story - very, very unsettling," said Hudak, who then defended the bill.

"I just want to say that actually statistics are not on your side," declared Hudak.

"For every one woman who used a handgun in self defense, 83 were murdered," she said, citing Colorado Coalition Against Gun Violence data.

"You said that you were a martial arts student," said Hudak. "And yet because this individual was so large he was able to overcome you even with your skills."

"And chances are that if you had had a gun then he would have been able to get that from you and possibly use it against you," asserted Hudak.

"Respectfully Senator you were not there," responded Collins. "I was there."

"I know without a doubt in my mind that at some point I would have been able to stop my attack by using my firearm," declared Collins. "He already had a weapon - he didn't need mine."


The earlier recalls left the Democrats with a mere one vote majority in the State Senate.  The Democrats did not campaign on the gun control issue in 2012 but rallied around it after the election, with an assist from President Obama.   The issue has helped unite Republicans with Libertarians. In addition, the influx of out of state special interest money in support of gun control has been a sore point for many Colorado voters in a state that has seen many newcomers in recent years.  A common complaint about such newcomers is that while they say they want the mountain lifestyle, many tend to bring their big city political views with them.

Now Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, has suggested out of state gun control groups to stay away from the Hudak recall effort.  

"Colorado is a state that people like to be themselves and solve their own problems," the Democratic governor said in an interview with Capital Download, USA TODAY's weekly video newsmaker series. "They don't really like outside organizations meddling in their affairs, and maybe the NRA gets a pass on that.

"But (it is) probably not a bad idea" for gun-control groups, such as the one established by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to curb their efforts if gun-rights activists collect enough signatures to force a recall vote on state Sen. Evie Hudak, a two-term Democrat from a suburban district north of Denver, he said

Hickenlooper, who as mayor of Denver was a member of Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns,  benefited from a deep rift among state Republicans in 2010. Similar to Obama in 2008, he positioned himself as someone who was above the partisan fray who could unite Coloradoans tired of political mudslinging.  While he is considered a favorite for reelection in 2014 he cannot be pleased at how the gun control issue has united political forces in opposition to the Democrat controlled state senate.

Last month, two Colorado State Senators, both Democrats, were recalled.  Now State Senator Evie Hudak, who thought she had escaped an earlier recall effort, is back on the hot seat. 

On Monday October 7, the issue committee "Recall Hudak Too" was registered with the Colorado Secretary of State. The original "Recall Evie Hudak" committee was formed on April 7 and is still active. As of September 19, that committee had raised about $6,600 in cash and a little over $7,000 in non-monetary contributions.

Since reopening the effort last week, McAlpine says their biggest problem has been dealing with the large number of volunteers. The committee has learned from the other recall campaigns and is confident of getting the required number of signatures to force a recall election. The petitions are due January 4th, just the legislature's 2014 session begins.

Arrogance towards the voters was a big issue in the successful recalls and Hudak has also come across as arrogant.  This is not a good tactic for a politician who eked out a victory with a mere plurality of votes in 2012 in a race where the libertarian candidate won over 7% of the vote, this confrontation with rape victim.Amanda Collins over a law that made state college campuses gun free zones has made Hudak infamous:

"The question in my life is, and will remain to be, what would have been different if I'd been able to carry my firearm," Collins told the committee. "At some point, I would have been able to stop my attack."

That, she said, would have prevented the perpetrator James Biella of later raping two other women, and killing the third victim, 19-year-old Brianna Dennison.

"How does rendering me defenseless protect you against violent crime?" asked Collins.

Her question was met with silence by Democrat committee members state Sens. Angela Giron of Pueblo, Matt Jones of Louisville and Hudak, and Sen. Rollie Heath, who with state Rep. Claire Levy, both of Boulder, sponsored the bill.

"What we are trying to do is to protect students and teachers from feeling uncomfortable by you carrying a gun to protect yourself,"Harvey said of the Democrat-controlled committee's intent.

"I apologize," said Harvey who explained that the Democrats would weight the rights of those who oppose concealed carry weapons on campus over Collins right to self defense.

"Thank you for sharing your story - very, very unsettling," said Hudak, who then defended the bill.

"I just want to say that actually statistics are not on your side," declared Hudak.

"For every one woman who used a handgun in self defense, 83 were murdered," she said, citing Colorado Coalition Against Gun Violence data.

"You said that you were a martial arts student," said Hudak. "And yet because this individual was so large he was able to overcome you even with your skills."

"And chances are that if you had had a gun then he would have been able to get that from you and possibly use it against you," asserted Hudak.

"Respectfully Senator you were not there," responded Collins. "I was there."

"I know without a doubt in my mind that at some point I would have been able to stop my attack by using my firearm," declared Collins. "He already had a weapon - he didn't need mine."


The earlier recalls left the Democrats with a mere one vote majority in the State Senate.  The Democrats did not campaign on the gun control issue in 2012 but rallied around it after the election, with an assist from President Obama.   The issue has helped unite Republicans with Libertarians. In addition, the influx of out of state special interest money in support of gun control has been a sore point for many Colorado voters in a state that has seen many newcomers in recent years.  A common complaint about such newcomers is that while they say they want the mountain lifestyle, many tend to bring their big city political views with them.

Now Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, has suggested out of state gun control groups to stay away from the Hudak recall effort.  

"Colorado is a state that people like to be themselves and solve their own problems," the Democratic governor said in an interview with Capital Download, USA TODAY's weekly video newsmaker series. "They don't really like outside organizations meddling in their affairs, and maybe the NRA gets a pass on that.

"But (it is) probably not a bad idea" for gun-control groups, such as the one established by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to curb their efforts if gun-rights activists collect enough signatures to force a recall vote on state Sen. Evie Hudak, a two-term Democrat from a suburban district north of Denver, he said

Hickenlooper, who as mayor of Denver was a member of Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns,  benefited from a deep rift among state Republicans in 2010. Similar to Obama in 2008, he positioned himself as someone who was above the partisan fray who could unite Coloradoans tired of political mudslinging.  While he is considered a favorite for reelection in 2014 he cannot be pleased at how the gun control issue has united political forces in opposition to the Democrat controlled state senate.