DENVER — Democratic state Rep. Steve Lebsock was expelled from the House in a 52 – 9 vote Friday, following allegations of sexual misconduct by five women.
The effort, led by Democrats, was successful in barring Lebsock from his position. The expulsion initially faced tough odds amid Republican objections to how the complaints have been handled.
At the last minute, Lebsock changed his party affiliation to Republican before the quick vote toppled the effort.
Colorado law says a vacancy will be filled by a person in the same political party. That means Lebsock’s party change gives his seat to Republicans, despite the fact he was a Democrat until Friday.
However, Democrats will maintain a majority in the Colorado House.
This is the text from the Colorado Constitution, Article 5, Section 2(3): Any vacancy occurring in either house by death, resignation, or otherwise shall be filled in the manner prescribed by law. The person appointed to fill the vacancy shall be a member of the same political party, if any, as the person whose termination of membership in the general assembly created the vacancy.
The Colorado Democratic Party issued a statement saying, “As far as Lebsock goes, the Republicans can have him. As far as the seat, we’re looking into it. Either way, we’re confident the district will be represented by a Democrat by the time the next session begins.”
State law says the person who fills the vacancy will have the seat until the next general election, which will be in November.