UPDATE: State verifies signatures for Morse recall, jockeying begins

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Well, that was quick.

Apparently, the Dems aren't going to take the Morse recall sitting down. According to a press release from A Whole Lot of People for John Morse, Catherine Kleinsmith, a registered voter from Colorado Springs and constituent of SD 11, has already filed a legal challenge claiming all the signatures are invalid.

The rationale? A technicality. According to Kleinsmith, the petitions didn't expressly mention that a "successor" would be chosen, as required by the Colorado Constitution. Here's the release in full:

A WHOLE LOT OF PEOPLE FOR JOHN MORSE ANNOUNCES LEGAL CHALLENGE TO RECALL PETITION

Protest to Secretary of State’s Presumption of Sufficiency Would Nullify Recall Attempt

Colorado Springs, Colo. — Petitions filed with the Colorado Secretary of State to recall State Senator John Morse are all invalid, according to a legal challenge filed by Catherine Kleinsmith, a registered voter from Colorado Springs and constituent of SD11. The challenge would nullify the purported sufficiency of the signatures and result in a judicial declaration that no election can be held to recall Senator Morse.

According to the protest, the Colorado Constitution requires petitions be drafted to expressly include a demand for the election of a successor to the recalled official. While the petition circulated by Robert Harris, Paul Paradis and Daniel Mach addresses their personal views about the basis for the recall, nowhere does it state a requirement of the election of a successor to Senator Morse.

“The Constitution is clear, just as the courts are clear: no recall petition is valid without this specific language,” said Mark Grueskin, an election lawyer representing Kleinsmith. “This requirement makes sense. After all, these recall proponents held out the bait of a recall of Sen. Morse without alerting petition signers to what comes next — an expensive election to designate a successor for just one year.”

“It’s just so ironic that these interests, seeking to force an election that most District 11 voters don’t want, would skip over key portions of the Colorado Constitution,” said Christy Le Lait, campaign manager for the issue committee, A Whole Lot of People for John Morse. “This group claims to hold the Constitution so sacred. You have to wonder, since someone inside their organization just breezed through the Constitution and the recall statutes, will they take responsibility for it now?”

In filing the protest, Kleinsmith hopes to put an end to the recall process that will unnecessarily drain her town’s resources. “The citizens of Colorado Springs know full well that recall elections are not a means to solve policy disagreements. Our county budget is already strapped and we can hardly afford to meet the basic needs of our community. To spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a recall election is a waste of our limited resources.”

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While there's no word yet if this challenge has dampened their spirits, the El Paso County Republicans were sounding downright jubilant in a release sent out an hour ago:

Colorado GOP Statement on Morse Recall

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo.—Today, the Colorado Secretary of State verified that petitioners collected more than the necessary amount of signatures to begin the recall process of Democratic state Senate Pres. John Morse of Colorado Springs. Morse now has the dubious distinction of being the first state legislator to face recall in Colorado history.

Organizers needed to collect 7,178 signatures, yet the Secretary of State Office reported that a whopping 10,137 valid signatures were verified and accepted. The amount of signatures collected is particularly troubling for Morse, as he was only elected with 13,866 votes in 2012.

Colorado Republican Committee Chairman Ryan Call released the following statement regarding today’s announcement—

“Today’s news is unprecedented, and serves as a necessary reminder to Gov. Hickenlooper and the radical Democrats in the state legislature that they must represent the people of this state, not their extreme special interests.

“The Colorado Republican Party is prepared to unite and mobilize behind a single Republican candidate that will be chosen by the people of El Paso County to defeat radical liberal John Morse in the recall election.”

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And just a few minutes ago, one Republican did broach the subject of a successor:

Jaxine Bubis Announces Her Candidacy as the Republican Candidate
In the Senate District 11 Recall Election


Colorado Springs, Colo — Local small-business entrepreneur and community advocate, Jaxine Bubis, announced today she intends to run as the Republican candidate to beat John Morse in the upcoming Senate District 11 recall election.

“I’m prepared to hit the ground running,“ said Bubis. “We’re ready to get our message out to the voters.“

Jaxine has made a name for herself in grassroots political circles volunteering for a number of candidates and conservative based issues. She grew up in Colorado Springs and touts herself as a Constitutional conservative.

“I joined with the majority of constituents in asking our elected officials to protect our constitutional rights only to be blatantly ignored,” continued Bubis.

“If given the honor to represent the people of Senate District 11, I pledge to protect those rights and will always keep an open door for the people.”

Bubis has an impressive list of endorsements by leaders from Colorado Springs and across Colorado.

“I’m truly humbled to get the endorsements from people I see as true leaders in the fight to protect our rights,” concluded Bubis.

Visit www.JaxineforColorado.org for more information about Bubis, to view her list of endorsements, and to help her campaign for Senate District 11.

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——- ORIGINAL POST, TUESDAY, 3:03 P.M. ——-

John Morse
  • John Morse
Colorado Senate President John Morse will likely face a recall election, because Secretary of State Scott Gessler verified more than enough signatures to force the action: 10,137.

Morse and his supporters have a 15-day protest period during which to dispute the signatures. If that effort fails, his election would take place 45 to 75 days later.

Morse was targeted because he helped usher through new state gun control laws, including limits on the size of magazines and expansion of background checks. Morse says he was motivated by scenes of carnage at mass shootings in Aurora and Newtown, Conn.

Sen. Morse recall petition deemed sufficient

Denver, Colorado - Today Secretary of State Scott Gessler announced the petition to recall Senator John Morse (SD-11) was found sufficient as required by statute. Statement of Sufficiency (PDF)

On June 3, 2013, the proponents of the recall effort submitted 16,198 petition signatures to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State's office began an immediate line-by-line review of the signatures. The proponents were required to gather 7,178 valid signatures, equaling 25 percent of all the votes cast in the previous election for Senate District 11. The total number of valid signatures on the petition was 10,137.

Under Colorado law, there is a fifteen day protest period, during which any eligible elector can file a protest with the Secretary of State. Barring a successful protest, at the conclusion of the protest period, the Governor will be responsible for setting an election date. The election date will be held between 45 - 75 days from the end of the protest period.

Petition verification summary

Total number of qualified signature lines 16,198
Total number of entries rejected (invalid) 6,061
Total number of entries accepted (valid) 10,137
Number of valid signatures required 7,178


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