In an afternoon press release, the Colorado Secretary of State has verified that the effort to recall Senate President John Morse (D-SD11) will proceed.
Colorado Springs activists who were concerned with Morse’s leadership and votes in the 2013 session gathered over 16,000 signatures to initiate a recall, after a verification process conducted by the Secretary of State the total number of valid signatures was 10,137, nearly 3,000 signatures more than required.
According to state statute, there is a 15 day protest period to challenge the authenticity of the verified signatures. Morse also has just five day to decide whether he will stay in the race and fight, as he has claimed he would, or resign.
Those who seek to recall Morse have said that the Senator has “broke his oath to protect and uphold the Constitution”, has “disallow[ed] citizen input on legislation” while elevating the voices of “out of state celebrities like Mark Kelly” according to the “Why Recall John Morse” page on the Basic Freedom Defense Fund (BFDF) site. BFDF also implies that Morse broke his promise to focus on jobs with his vote for “the magazine ban that cost the state millions in tax revenue and hundreds of jobs as manufacturers left the state.”
“A Whole Lot of People For John Morse”, an issue committee set up to defend against the effort to recall Morse has attempted to paint BFDF and its supporters as criminals funded by shady outside interests. At the same time the issue committee had received nearly 77 percent of their donations from outside interest groups.
As reported by Colorado Peak Politics, Morse and his defenders have received large donations from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and groups which he backed financially. Mayor Bloomberg is the founder of Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), a group which has taken the lead in advancing gun control legislation since the tragedy in Sandy Hook.
If Morse decides to resign in the face of the recall, then Michael Merrifield, who has a past history with MAIG, is rumored to be the obvious choice of an appointment board.
Morse was last elected in 2010 with 13,451 votes, just over 3,000 more than those who signed the recall petition.
*** Update ***
According to Kristen Wyatt of the Associate Press, the Morse campaign intends to challenge the legality of the recall petition in whole, rather than challenging individual signatures. The lawyers for Morse point to a requirement that a petition for recall not only ask for a recall, but also demand a successor be elected.
“A Whole Lot of People For John Morse” unleashed a series of tweets that openly mocked the grassroots recall efforts. “Rob Harris is constitutionally challenged” the campaign asserted. Additionally the issue committee leveled claims that recall workers misrepresented Morse’s stance on gun control, and that recall volunteers and intimidated voters.
A challenger has also announced their intention to face off against Morse in the recall. Jaxine Bubis has launched a campaign site which lists endorsements from Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and ten Republicans legislators, including Colorado Springs Senator Owen Hill, who narrowly lost his race against Morse in 2010.