Gun-rights advocates score another victory in Colorado (sort of)

November 27, 2013

Ex-Colorado Senate President John Morse (D) was recalled in September (David Zalubowski/AP, File)

It’s not quite the outcome they were pushing for, but gun-rights advocates in Colorado have scored another victory in forcing a pro-gun control Democrat out of office.

Sen. Evie Hudak, a two-term Democrat from a district just north of Denver, has decided to resign rather than face a potential recall, according to local reports Wednesday. Her decision means a Democratic vacancy committee will choose a (very likely) same-party successor to finish her term and then presumably run for reelection in November.

“In the interest of preserving the progress made over the last year, I am resigning as State Senator for District 19, effective immediately,” Hudak wrote in a resignation letter, according to FOX31 Denver.

Gun-rights advocates successfully recalled two other Democrats earlier this year over votes to strengthen gun control laws in the state. After those successes, they set their sights on Hudak by beginning the process of collecting signatures to force a recall.

“It is clear Senator Hudak has dishonored her sworn oath and commitment. Accordingly, we the citizens of Colorado must exercise our right to recall Senator Hudak from office,” they wrote on their Web site.

Hudak’s decision may have been influenced by the argument progressives have made about turnout during the earlier recalls — the first ever in state history, according to The Denver Post. Because those took place during unscheduled elections in an off year and over a single issue, turnout skewed largely Republican, progressives argue. Plus, Hudak’s district is more conservative than either of the two recalled senators, as GovBeat’s other half reported earlier this year:

Hudak’s suburban Denver district gave President Obama 52 percent of the vote in 2012, according to a breakdown compiled by the liberal Daily Kos blog. Obama scored nearly 60 percent of the vote in the other two seats. Hudak won reelection over Republican Lang Sias by fewer than 600 votes of 80,000 cast in 2012, while a Libertarian Party candidate took more than 5,000 votes.

While Hudak’s decision is intended to put an end to the recall effort, it is possible that a judge could allow it, Fox31 reports. At least 19 states allow the recall of state lawmakers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Niraj Chokshi reports for GovBeat, The Post's state and local policy blog.
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