Colorado House Republican effort to impeach Secretary of State Jena Griswold fails

Republicans argued they were standing up for democracy, while Democrats called the resolution political theater.
jena griswold colorado secretary of state
Posted at 8:29 PM, Apr 09, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-10 00:35:27-04

DENVER — After five hours in the House Judiciary Committee, a resolution aimed at impeaching Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold failed — an expected outcome with a Democratic majority in the committee.

The 3-8 vote was split along party lines.

House Resolution 24-1006 was introduced Thursday by State Representatives Rose Pugliese (R - El Paso County) and Ryan Armagost (R - Larimer and Weld Counties). The resolution argued that Griswold should be removed from her position for agreeing with efforts to keep former President Donald Trump off of the Colorado ballot because of his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot.

“The Secretary of State's tweets, in which she repeatedly refers to Trump as an insurrectionist as evidence for why he should be removed from the ballot, are a clear display of her abuse of her position as Secretary of State, knowing that she would be shielded by the current Democrat Trifecta," Armagost said in committee.

“We do not believe that any Secretary of State, whether Republican or Democrat, should have the power to unilaterally remove a candidate from the election ballot. Coloradans deserve a neutral and unbiased Secretary of State who will remove their personal feelings and animosity in our elections," Pugliese said.

The argument from House Republicans dates back to a September 2023 lawsuit filed by four Colorado Republicans and two unaffiliated voters who asked the court to disqualify former President Donald Trump from the Colorado primary ballot.

“I've always followed every court ruling. And I said at the very beginning of this case, when it was filed, that I believe Donald Trump incited the insurrection, and it was up to a court to ultimately decide whether or not he was on the ballot," Griswold said. “When this case was filed, it was alleged that I was somehow masterminding it. I was a defendant and never spoke with the people who filed this case, the petitioners who filed this case. So, I think that's really unfortunate.”

In December 2023, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled Trump was not eligible to appear on the ballot. In March, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed that decision, allowing Trump to appear on the Colorado primary ballot.

“Look, saying the truth that Donald Trump engaged in an insurrection is not something partisan. It is my job to talk about democracy and voting rights. I'm going to keep on doing my job," Griswold said. "This was a novel issue. It worked itself out, voters were able to vote for who they wanted to and will have a great general election in the state of Colorado this year.”

Republicans said the impeachment attempt was not about bolstering their party for the next election cycle, but instead to advocate for all Colorado voters.

"This is about helping voters that really have a distrust in the election system and getting those voters out to actually take action, to make sure one way or another we can fix the problems that we have in the distrust of the election system," said Armagost.

Democrats disagreed strongly and said the impeachment resolution was political theater.

“I do not trust the motives of the sponsors in this. I do not believe that what is brought to us today is truly for the sake of our democracy," said Representative Lorena Garcia (D - Adams and Jefferson Counties).

“We have a situation where people don't trust our elections, and you all have said that too. But you've tried to lay the blame on the Secretary of State of the State of Colorado. Well, that's not where the blame belongs. The blame belongs with Donald Trump," said Representative Judy Amabile, (D - Boulder, Clear Creek, Gilpin, and Larimer Counties).

“You have earnestly stated — and I give you the benefit of the doubt — that you believe that the introduction and the debate and passage of this resolution is necessary. I will, as earnestly, state my own belief that this resolution and a lot of the discussion around it today represents the biggest assault on the rule of law that I have seen in this legislature in my eight years serving here," said Representative Mike Weissman (D - Adams and Arapahoe Counties).

Ultimately, Griswold is glad the impeachment resolution died on Tuesday. What House Republicans tackle next — in a presidential election year — remains to be seen.

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