There Are Now Four Active Recall Campaigns Against Colorado Democrats

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, on the Senate floor Friday Jan. 4, 2019.

A group seeking to recall Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, has been given permission to start collecting signatures.

The Secretary of State's office approved the petition format on Monday. Recall supporters will need 13,506 valid signatures in the next two months to force a special election.

Garcia is only the latest Colorado Democrat targeted by a recall campaign. Signature-gathering efforts are already underway against Gov. Jared Polis and state Senators Pete Lee and Brittany Pettersen.

Recall proponents argue Democrats have used their control over the governor's office and state legislature to pass policies that violate the will of Colorado voters. In Garcia's case, opponents are focused on a new state law putting stricter regulations on the oil and gas industry.

"Senator Leroy Garcia has voted against the best interest of his district by voting YES on SB 19-181 which would restrict oil and gas production in Colorado," read a recall statement delivered to the Secretary of State's office. "Senator Garcia has betrayed the trust of his constituents by blatantly refusing to carry out the desires of the overwhelming number of the people he was elected to represent when 60% of Pueblo county voted no to similar oil and gas restrictions in proposition 112."

In other recalls, those looking to oust Democrats are also angry about the state's new Extreme Risk Protection Orders, which allow judges to temporarily remove guns from people deemed a threat to themselves or others. Garcia was the only Senate Democrat to vote against the gun bill. But opponents say that as Senate President he could have exercised more authority to keep it from passing.

Of the recall effort Garcia said "I think it’s the wrong way to go about governing. We just had elections last year. " He also said he feels his opponents are "grasping at straws" and noted that he won his last election in 2018 with more than 70 percent of the vote.

Democrats control the state Senate by two votes. Garcia occupies the same district that successfully recalled Democratic Senator Angela Giron in 2013, an effort motivated by her support for gun control legislation.