A Denver District judge said the recall State Senators Angela Giron and John Morse can move forward. The recall election is set for September 10. However, there are more questions than answers about what this means for Colorado, the gun debate, and the sides involved.
PULP broke down the various outcomes and what they could mean locally and nationally.
An Angela Giron win:
Even if John Morse loses, the Colorado Democrats would still control the Colorado State Senate. The message sent by pro-gun activists was the attempted recall targeting of a Democrat in a Democrat stronghold and the Senate President thirteen months away from a general election. It’s something the Democrats won’t forget and a win by these two Democrats could mean an even more acrimonious state house going into an election year.
Democrats have a large advantage in Giron’s district with a 2 to 1 to 1 advantage where Democrats outnumber Republicans and Independents. The gun rights activists’ hopes depend on a late summer election will allow for their outraged supporters to sneak a victory against the more numerous but apathetic Democrats. It’s a risky strategy as Sen Giron is liked by many Democrats. And the local party does have a strong get-out-the-vote effort in place. Democrat groups, such as the local labor or teachers’ unions, who have historically supported Democrats, might be fractured internally over this one single issue causing these groups not to mount their own get-out-the-vote efforts in support of the Senator.
Angela Giron is recalled and a Democrat wins:
The recall doesn’t guarantee that a Republican, Independent or Libertarian will win the seat. The Democrats will go with a vote-for-Angela strategy while having an option B strategy. With the voter registration numbers favoring the Democrats, they would have nothing to loss by putting up one very strong candidate to replace Angela.
With Giron losing, senate Democrats would still control the chamber regardless of a Morse loss. They hold a current 20 to 15 seat advantage and with a Morse loss and a democrat replacing Sen Giron the majority would be 19 to 16.
Angela Giron is recalled and a anti- gun-control candidate wins:
A loss by Sen Giron and a pro-gun candidate’s victory would be a true embarrassment for Colorado Democrats. This type of victory would have more impact on the national stage than in Colorado. A win by gun advocates will send message—any gun measures introduced and passed will see an immediate response by activists. The national effect might resonate with with other state legislatures causing them to do little on gun control issues for fear of being recalled.
If Giron loses and a Republican wins, the Colorado Senate Democrats would retain a 18-17 majority. The hope is the Republicans could peel off one conservative Democrat to vote with them in the Senate Chamber on some conservative issues. Even if they were to steal one Democratic vote at the State House, they would not be able be in charge of legislative committees to mold and introduce policy. The House and Governor would still be in the hands of the Democrats.
This new Republican State Senator would get 13 months to serve and then face the Democrat Party focused on taking back this seat in their stronghold. This new senator would carry over some momentum from this election but he or she would still face overcoming a 2-to-1 advantage the Democrats have in a Congressional election cycle.
The only real parts of the puzzle likely to change are the names on plastic name tags— not policy or laws. The Colorado Legislature is Democrat-controlled chamber until, well if the Republicans take back the State Senate in 2014.
In the short-term the recall election will have little effect in the policy matters of the state. The Democrats were unlikely to introduce controversial legislation going into the 2014 general election after this hard fight on guns, immigration and civil unions.
In the long-term it is hard to gauge how many on the pro-gun side are swing voters or if they are new voters. If the activists are made up of new voters, or ones who voted for Obama and Democrats in the last two elections, then it could signal yet another Colorado voting shift.
Colorado governing bodies will still remain weighted to the Democrats until 2014. How this recall will impact that election no one knows. Jobs, healthcare, education, and taxes could be be the hot-button issues come November 2014 more so than the voting record of the State Legislature.
The first signs of the aftermath of the recall won’t be felt until the legislature returns in January. The Democrats most certainly will not forget this recall effort. The 2014 General Assembly could be one of the most acrimonious legislatures since Governor Bill Owens was in office.
What is certain, if a Hispanic legislator in a Hispanic and Democrat stronghold lost to a anti- gun-control Republican, the loss will be noticed and it will get national attention.