DENVER (AP) – Colorado Democrats targeted for recalls because of their support for gun control remained in limbo Tuesday, pursuing legal challenges to avoid going back to ballot this year.
Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, was awaiting a decision Tuesday from the secretary of state’s office on whether a recall petition against her wasn’t valid because it was improperly worded. She wasn’t expected to prevail; fellow Democratic Sen. John Morse lost an identical challenge last week.
Both senators are being targeted for recalls because of their support for new gun control laws, especially an ammunition magazine limit and a measure expanding background checks. Opponents say the gun controls violate Second Amendment rights.
The gun controls sparked intense opposition during this year’s legislative session, and they’ve brought election-year intensity to a typically ho-hum time of year in Colorado politics. A lawsuit brought by a majority of Colorado sheriffs opposed to the gun controls was due for a court hearing Wednesday.
A Democratic lawyer, Mark Grueskin, filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Denver District Court challenging the Morse challenge rejection. Grueskin asked for a preliminary injunction to block the recall, saying the secretary of state’s office argument was “clearly erroneous.”
Democrats believe both recalls should be voided because the petitions asked whether Morse and Giron should be recalled, but not whether a successor should be appointed. A deputy secretary of state rejected that argument.
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking for Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper to set a recall election date. The constitution requires him to set one 30 days to 60 days after any challenge is settled, but isn’t clear what happens if the challenge is them appealed in a lawsuit.
Megan Castle, a spokeswoman for the governor, said Hickenlooper’s office is using July 5 as the start of the window. That would mean a Morse recall election would be held between Aug. 5 and Sept. 5, unless a judge steps in.
The El Paso County Clerk has requested an Aug. 27 recall date. Republicans in Morse’s district were holding a non-binding straw poll Wednesday to settle on a possible challenger to Morse.
– By Kristen Wyatt, AP Writer
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