Morgan Carroll to follow Morse as Colo. Senate President
DENVER — Senate Democrats, having seen two of their colleagues bounced from office in recall elections last month and now a third facing the prospect of another recall, tapped Sen. Morgan Carroll to lead their caucus going forward.
Carroll, D-Aurora, moves from majority leader to senate president, replacing Sen. John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, who presided over the chamber last year before losing his seat in last month’s historic recall elections.
Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, will take over in Carroll’s former role as majority leader.
“I look forward to serving with all of Colorado’s Senators to solve the problems of the State,” Carroll said in a statement. “We are ready to get to work.”
Carroll is the second woman elected senate president in Colorado; Joan FitzGerald was the first.
After seeing Morse and Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, lose their seats last month as part of a backlash over their support of tougher gun laws, Democrats head into 2014 with a different focus.
After pursuing a bold and notably progressive agenda in 2013, Democrats will likely be taking a more moderate, restrained approach in 2014.
Although, Colorado Republicans view the selection of Carroll, among the more liberal senators on the Democratic side of the aisle, as a sign that Democrats aren’t about to pull back the reins.
“It’s clear that Senate Democrats did not learn anything from last month’s recall elections,” said Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan Call in a statement issued Wednesday morning. “Instead of putting forth a leadership team that has a record of working with Republicans and representing the people of Colorado, they elected two of their most radical and partisan members.”
With their senate majority reduced to 18-17, Democrats won’t be able to pass legislation out of the chamber unless it has the support of the caucus’s most moderate Democrats: Sens. Lois Tochtrop of Thornton, Mary Hodge of Brighton and Cheri Jahn of Wheat Ridge.
Republicans Bernie Herpin, who will succeed Morse, and George Rivera, who took Giron’s seat, were sworn in last week.