First recall effort fails against Democratic state Rep. Mike McLachlan

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Rep. Mike McLachlan, D-Durango, speaking on the House floor last month during a debate about gun control measures.

DENVER — Rep. Mike McLachlan, whose support of the Democratic gun control package earlier this year made him the first target of a recall effort, is safe — at least until next November.

McLachlan, D-Durango, will not face a recall election.

The group trying to gather signatures to put him on a recall ballot did not turn in any signatures to the Secretary of State’s office Tuesday, the deadline for them to do so.

They needed more than 10,000 signatures to force a recall.

“I am proud to represent the citizens of District 59, and am thankful they rejected this costly and unnecessary waste of taxpayer dollars,” said McLachlan in a statement.

The recall election, had it taken place, would have cost local taxpayers an estimated $150,000.

“I have worked to pass bipartisan legislation that benefits our local communities,” McLachlan said. “It’s time to put aside ideological disagreements and come together to put the needs of Southwest Colorado first.”

Former state Rep. J. Paul Brown, a Republican who McLachlan unseated in 2012, is planning to challenge McLachlan in 2014.

Three other Democratic lawmakers are still facing possible recalls, with most of the attention and outside money focused on Senate President John Morse, D-Colorado Springs.

The signature threshold, which is based on a percentage of votes cast in the lawmaker’s last election, is much lower in Morse’s Senate District 11 because he was elected in 2010, when voter turnout was lower; and the group behind the recall there, the Basic Freedoms Defense Fund, is paying for signatures.

On Monday, Morse told FOX31 Denver that he’ll fight “to the bitter end”; although Republicans believe Democrats may ask Morse to resign in order to avoid a recall and allow a Democratic vacancy committee to appoint former state Rep. Michael Merrifield, who’s already planning to run for Morse’s vacant seat next year, to finish out the final year of his term.

The deadline for signatures to be turned in against Morse is June 3.

Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, is also facing a recall in her district, as is Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Westminster, although the effort against Hudak appears to be about out of gas.

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