Focus group: Giron recall was more about personality than guns

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Former state Sen. Angela Giron addresses supporters in Pueblo on Sept. 10 after being recalled by voters in her district.

DENVER — The legislature’s passage of tougher gun control laws in March and the subsequent backlash that led to two Democratic lawmakers being recalled in September are arguably Colorado’s biggest political story of the year — and Democrats, Republicans and activists on both sides of the gun debate continue to interpret the year’s events to serve their own agenda.

But a recently conducted focus group, paid for by a coalition of pro-gun control groups, gives greater clarity to what happened in Pueblo, where former Sen. Angela Giron lost a solidly Democratic district by a 20-point margin.

The report, which FOX31 Denver has obtained, confirms what many political observers have surmised already: that it wasn’t the gun laws alone that cost Giron her seat, but a deep-seated dislike for and mistrust of the lawmaker herself among many Democrats in her hometown.

The focus group was presented as part of a summit this week, reported by the Washington Post’s Philip Rucker, where gun control activists plotted their “revenge”, which could include additional gun control efforts and even recalls targeting Republican lawmakers who oppose them.

People in the two focus groups — men and women, all Democrats (the party holds roughly a 15-point advantage in Senate District 3) — explained that they believed that Giron “went Denver” and lost touch with her constituents, taking orders instead from party bosses around the Capitol.

Moreover, some women surveyed said they took additional umbrage at Giron’s explanation that she voted for certain bills, despite serious opposition from parts of her district, because she’s “a strong Latina.”

“I’m a strong Latina too,” one woman said. “That’s not an excuse for not listening to people.”

A staffer for U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, she was appointed by a Democratic vacancy committee in August 2010 after former state Sen. Abel Tapia resigned to take a job as director of the Colorado Lottery.

She was elected to a full seat that November.

After three years in office, she’d alienated many voters in Senate District 3; she entered the recall campaign with a 47 percent disapproval rating in the district.

Men in the focus group expressed greater antipathy about the gun control laws, viewing Giron’s support of the measures as a failure to understand “the cultural value around guns” in a small town.

Women, however, widely supported the legislation package, which included expanding background checks to private gun sales and transfers and banning magazines of more than 15 rounds.

Both men and women said they felt Giron tried to run away from her support of those bills after the ads run by her “Vote No on the Recall” campaign failed to even mention the issue that brought the special election about.

“She was trying to hide her votes,” one person said.

“She couldn’t be trusted as an independent voice to represent Pueblo,” said another.

The focus group voters said they hardly know anything about Republican George Rivera, who was the only successor candidate on the recall ballot and will face a reelection challenge from Democratic state Rep. Leroy Garcia, who opposed the gun control bills, next year.

The recall wasn’t about Rivera, voters said. It was about Giron.

“There’s not always someone you want to vote for,” one respondent said. “But there’s always someone you want to vote against.”

Giron did not return a phone call Wednesday from FOX31 Denver seeking comment about the focus group results — it’s unknown whether she’s aware of the focus group’s existence or its results — and her rumored interest in running for Secretary of State.

Sources indicate that Giron is pressuring her Democratic colleagues, especially Latinos — everyone from former Denver Mayor Federico Pena to her former Senate Democrat colleagues — to support a possible campaign.

Giron has actually requested that some of her former colleagues drive to Pueblo this weekend so she can attempt to garner their support in person.

Most Democrats, however, have already committed their support to CU Regent Joe Neguse, who declared his candidacy for Secretary of State back in June having already rallied many of his party’s most powerful patriarchs behind his first statewide campaign.

“She thinks she’s owed something because she ‘took one for the team’,” one Democrat said on the condition that they not be identified.

“That’s obviously not the case,” the continued, referencing the focus group report. “She doesn’t get it.”

In an interview with CNN after losing her seat, Giron attributed her 20-point defeat to “voter suppression.”



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    ­­­­­­­­­my best friend’s half-sister makes $62/hr on the internet. She has been laid off for six months but last month her pay check was $21344 just working on the internet for a few hours. look at this now….


  • Mangler

    Lol not about guns? Are you all stupid? On this day last year, I knew there was going to be trouble brewing for gun owners. I joined the NRA, I joined the RMGO, I attended gun hearings and wrote letters to rotting pols who weren’t listening to their constituents. Dazzled by big east money the communist Democrats crapped on the people who elected them to power. For me it was about guns. I have a sneaky feeling we’ll be seeing even more seats turned over to the Republican party over the coming years. The message should be clear, all those mails in your email boxes, snail mail boxes, all the post cards…. you should whole heartedly pay attention to them when they come in such volumes.

  • fast45

    Sure it was … of COURSE it was … Personality, not guns, right? Uh-huh … whatever you say, Mr. Bloomberg. We suppose the next election cycle will also be all about ‘personality’. Not.

  • John Brown

    “paid for by a coalition of pro-gun control groups.” No this could not be biased at all could it. Think about who is doing the study and who is behind the study. These results could easily be skewed. Do better reseach KDVR and find a better reporter than the joke, Stokols.

  • alanstorm

    “But a recently conducted focus group, PAID FOR BY A COALITION OF PRO-GUN CONTROL GROUPS, gives greater clarity…”

    Emphasis mine. Need I say more?

  • S4F4M

    Eli Stokol is a hack. A political pawn that the D’s will SHT on if they get an opportunity. Watch your back Eli.

  • Heyoka

    I agree with you all. If they tried that here the idiots would get lynched. I say this without reservation malice or intent, its just true.

    Idiotic denials will not change the truth and you folks should be mindful of what I was once told, allow them to play their own tricks on themselves.

    Look at it this way Obama became the Constitutional Law Professor he lied about by encouraging everyone to read and study the document. I have even heard people quoting the Federalist Papers, Praise the Almighty! He became the single most cause of arming of the American People since the Revolution. I know I’m not right in the mind, but looking at the positive side of this we as a People are much more informed than we were 10 years ago. I have been studying this information and fought engagements with judges, administrators and even the IRS, and won a few, for about 30 years. If we all had been so engaged we would not need to be talking about these things.

    “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” Benjamin Franklin

  • A good conservative is one that dies from cancer

    Eric Ernst, you are a worthless right wing POS and I hope you and your loved ones die from cancer. A good conservative is one that dies of cancer.

  • A good conservative is one that dies from cancer

    Eric, go f yourself you pos. You republicans are worthless POS vermin and may cancer kill all of your loved ones.

  • Eric Ernst

    ther is that loser from california; “a good conservative’ showing their stupidity and ignorance. They CAN NEVER bring intelligence to a discussion…so they resort to the name calling and tactics of a toddler… a TRUE INDICATION of their immaturity and proof they are VOID of ANY cognitive process or brain wave pattern

  • MacDaddyWatch

    Giron blamed “voter suppression.”

    That’s liberal democrat code talk for “We lost the argument again.”

  • BubbaLou

    Giron, just another in a long line of liberal’s that believe they know so much more than the rest of “the people” .
    The facts have been in on her recall for some time now, she just won’t accept it.
    In Giron’s world We are wrong , SHE is right…

    There’s no question why the democrats themselves kicked her to the curb..
    The only one refusing to see the light is Giron herself.. Oh I’m sure her staff is telling her she’s the greatest … They need the job after all..

    Giron is a loser, and a very bad one at that..

  • A good conservative is one that dies from cancer

    And you pos conservatives are all losers. A good conservative is one that dies of cancer.

  • NativeColoRN

    I see ..”a good coservative” is continuing to show their stupidity and ignorance with their foul mouth and NO decernable brain wave pattern.
    They have NOTHING to contribute, so they resort to name calling and ignornace!!

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