Effort to recall Colorado Senate President fails, organizers turn in just four signatures

Organizers turned in four signatures
Posted at 2:48 PM, Oct 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-18 22:33:47-04

DENVER – Proponents of an effort to recall Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, turned in four of the 13,506 signatures they needed to get a recall on a ballot in the latest and perhaps final failed recall effort of state-level lawmakers in 2019 in Colorado.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office said it was reviewing the few signatures that were turned in on Friday afternoon but said that the proponents of the effort turned in three packets, which cannot contain more than 40 signatures each. But after this story was first published, the office said the organizers turned in just four signatures.

Garcia was the last high-profile Democrat who saw recall petitions against them approved in 2019, though conservative groups have been discussing other recalls as well.

In September, the organizers of recall efforts against Sens. Brittany Pettersen and Pete Lee did not turn in the signatures they had gathered. Days earlier, organizers of an effort to recall Gov. Jared Polis said they failed to gather the necessary number of signatures as well.

Proponents dropped an effort to recall Rep. Tom Sullivan, D-Centennial, in June after protesting the red flag law he sponsored and which he campaigned on last year.

Former Rep. Rochelle Galindo, D-Greeley, resigned in the midst of a recall effort against her.

The effort against Garcia was seen as a long-shot by many from its onset. The Pueblo Democrat won his 2018 race by nearly 47 percentage points, but organizers of the effort against him said they were unhappy with his support of SB19-181, the local control oil and gas bill.

In a statement Friday, Garcia said he’d heard from many people who did not support the effort and said it was time to get back to work.

“In the last 60 days, we spoke to tens of thousands of Puebloans. Republicans, Democrats, and Unaffiliated voters told me they didn’t want this,” Garcia said in a statement. “They know I’m working every day and getting results for Pueblo. Now, we can get back to the business I was elected to do, for all of my constituents and focus on solving problems and not playing politics.”

Colorado Democratic Party Chair Morgan Carroll slammed the multiple failed recall efforts and the Colorado Republican Party in a statement, calling them “desperate attempts” and “cynical distractions.”

“The people of Colorado spoke loud and clear, and sent a message to the sore losers and con artists running these sham recalls -- they don’t want their 2018 decisions to be overturned. The voters of these districts chose dedicated public servants -- like Puebloan and Marine veteran Leroy Garcia -- because they knew these state Senators and Representatives would fight for Colorado values at the State Capitol,” Carroll said in a statement. “The fact Colorado Republican Party chair Ken Buck kicked off his term as chair by promising to ‘teach Democrats how to spell R-E-C-A-L-L’ shows just how out of touch leadership in the Colorado GOP really is.”

While there are no outstanding recall petitions involving state lawmakers, recall efforts are underway in several towns and cities, including Brighton, Elizabeth and Nederland.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to show the organizers of the recall effort turned in just four signatures.