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GOP Chair: Hudak recall ‘undermines’ Republican chances in 2014

Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan Call.

Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan Call.

DENVER — Colorado Republican Party Chairman Ryan Call told FOX31 Denver Monday that the latest attempt to recall a Democratic lawmaker could undermine the GOP’s chances up and down the ballot in the next actual election in 2014.

Last week, a day after the two Republicans elected to succeed the two Democrats ousted in recall elections last month, a few conservative activists announced a new effort to recall a third Democratic state senator.

But, with Democrats now clinging to just a one-seat senate majority, the proposed recall election targeting Sen. Evie Hudak of Westminster isn’t about her gun votes or anything else she’s done — activists already tried and failed to gather enough signatures to recall her earlier this year.

It’s about political power, pure and simple.

And it risks blunting the political headwinds that many Republicans, following the recalls, finally feel building at their backs on the cusp of another big election year.

“The job of the Republican Party is to get Republicans elected when there are regular elections,” said Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan Call. “And there are already a lot of things competing for our time, attention and resources.

“This recall election would undermine our efforts in the governor’s race, the U.S. Senate race and to win a senate majority if voters perceive that Republicans are trying to win a majority through recalls.”

Call, who’s gotten his share of grief from the more strident grassroots voices within the GOP, is just giving voice to the obvious: the conservative recall movement, a month after being legitimized by two stunning victories, has quickly jumped the shark.

The activists who blistered Democrats for “going too far” with their gun votes have, it appears, failed to learn the same lesson, to understand “when to hold ‘em”, so to speak.

“This is the same group of ideologues that currently has our government shut down,” said Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio.

“If that’s Ryan’s position, he should try to gain a bit more control over his party activists and convince them that this is not a wise thing to do. But this is just more evidence that the Republican Party remains severely divided.”

Above all else, there are several factors — glaringly obvious to anyone with just a basic understanding of politics — that already guarantee a third recall isn’t likely to have the same result as the first two.

First, the signature threshold — a quarter of the overall vote in the lawmaker’s last election — is significantly more challenging than it was in the districts Sen. John Morse and Sen. Angela Giron used to represent.

The Secretary of State informed recall proponents Monday that they’ll need 18,962 valid signatures by Dec. 2013 (by comparison, recall backers needed just 7,178 to put Morse on the ballot).

Secondly, should those petitions be certified, this recall election would be waged in the Denver media market, where television and radio advertising is a lot more expensive than in Colorado Springs and Pueblo; and it would come around Christmas, roughly eight months after the end of the legislative session, just as the 2014 session is getting underway.

Thirdly, and most importantly, Democrats will never let the party’s senate majority be decided in one senate district, especially not after raising several million dollars to defend two legislative seats this summer, to no avail.

Should backers get these signatures, Democrats will almost certainly force Hudak to resign and have a vacancy committee appoint a successor to fill her seat, preserving the party’s already precarious one-seat majority.

“If it gets that far, then the Republican Party will help identify a successor candidate, which is strictly consistent with what we did in Pueblo and Colorado Springs,” Call said. “But the Party is not leading this charge.

“Using recalls to attempt to win majorities is not something that will be led or championed by the Party.”