Morse crowd cedes battle, not war


There were tears, certainly.

But the huge room in the downtown Mining Exchange hotel didn’t exactly feel defeated. Buoyed by a rousing speech from the defeated Senate President John Morse, and comforted by the feeling that they had fought a good fight, the 150 or so gathered supporters seemed hopeful, even defiant.
Onlookers at the Mining Exchange - BRYAN OLLER
  • Bryan Oller
  • Onlookers at the Mining Exchange

“It’s heartbreaking on a personal level because we know what a good man he is and that he did the right thing for Colorado, so that’s disappointing,” Sandy Phillips, who lost her daughter in the Aurora theater shootings, told the Indy. “But overall, it’s going to put a light on the special interest groups who came in here to try to influence a very specific population … I hope it wakes middle America up to investigate. To know who these people are.”

Morse, who only appeared briefly to deliver a speech, has said the gun control laws he championed – which inspired the recall – were inspired by the mass shootings in Aurora and Newtown, Conn.

In his parting speech, he expressed pride in the laws he passed, which will remain in place. And he noted that it was unlikely that his newly elected replacement, Bernie Herpin, would get any traction in the Colorado Senate, where he will be in the minority party.

“Robert F. Kennedy once said, ‘It is the essence of responsibility to put the public good ahead of personal gain,’” Morse told a cheering crowd. “I also remind you, that you’re not judged by how you got knocked down, but rather how you got back up. Our last session was phenomenal, and the next one will be even better!”

Christy Le Lait, who led Morse’s campaign through A Whole Lot of People for John Morse, blamed big players on the other side, like the National Rifle Association, plus limited voter access for the defeat. She said she did not think the loss would affect the fate of future Democratic candidates in the district.

But she did think the success of the recall effort could lead to more recall efforts in the future.

“Every time you ever take a vote that somebody doesn’t like, somebody’s going to threaten a recall?” she asked. “Do we really want to do this all the time? … Do we really want to waste this kind of money? I mean, what was the end goal here?

"Bernie Herpin isn’t going to go to the Colorado Senate and do anything. And he’s not going to be elected again should he choose to run. So what was the end goal here? They’re not changing policy. They’re bullying their way around. They’re buying a recall election.”

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