DENVER (AP) – A second Colorado Democrat who is facing possible recall over gun control says she wouldn’t change her votes and has no plans to resign.
Sen. Angela Giron, of Pueblo, said Monday she’ll fight for her seat and that most constituents support the measures she backed. She addressed the recall hours after opponents dropped off some 13,500 signatures – about 20 percent more than required – in an attempt to recall the first-term senator a year before she faces re-election.
Giron said resigning “never crossed my mind,” and that she’d turn back an effort to see her become the first state legislator removed in a recall since Colorado adopted the process in 1912.
Gun-rights activists in Colorado Springs have turned in signatures seeking removal of Senate President John Morse. They turned in petitions a week ago and are still waiting on the secretary of state’s review to see if they’ll be going to ballot in late summer or early fall.
Both Giron and Morse face a backlash for a gun control package signed into law last spring. Colorado became the first state outside the East Coast to significantly ratchet back gun rights after last year’s mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Mass.
Giron oversees the Senate committee that first approved a measure to require background checks on most private and online gun sales. Giron also voted for a new law to limit most ammunition magazines to 15 rounds.
Recall organizer Victor Head said Monday that recalling Giron wouldn’t be difficult, even though her Pueblo district is heavily Democratic.
“She went against her district,” Head said after dropping off petition ballots.
Giron accused her opponents of using “racially charged vitriol” against her supporters.
Pressed for details, Giron said her supporters were sometimes shouted at while campaigning for her by people passing by. Giron said she received racially tinged messages during the session over gun measures and because she sponsored a new law to allow Colorado students who are in the country illegally to receive in-state tuition rates if they went to state high schools.
Giron said she was surprised “how racially charged this has become.”
“Half of Pueblo is Latino, so … half, if not more, of my volunteers out there are Latino, and when people holler out, ‘You need to be deported,’ what does that have to do with anything we’re talking about here?” Giron said.
Giron said she assured her volunteers they’d be safe and encouraged them not to be confrontational. She didn’t elaborate.
Giron, who won by 10 percentage points in 2010, already has attracted a Republican opponent. Retired police officer George Rivera is seeking signatures to be the GOP candidate on ballots if Giron is recalled.
Rivera is a first-time candidate who said he was unsettled by several actions by Giron and the Democratic Legislature. But the gun measures inspired his run for office, he said.
“This race is going to have some large implications even nationwide,” Rivera said Monday.
– By Kristen Wyatt, AP Writer
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