DENVER – Proponents of an effort to try and recall Colorado Gov. Jared Polis will have to collect more than 631,000 valid signatures from registered Colorado voters by the end of the day on Sept. 6 in order to get a recall question on a statewide ballot.
If they succeed, it will be the first time a sitting Colorado governor has ever faced a recall. But the proponents for Dismiss Polis will have to collect more than 10,000 signatures a day over the next 60 days in order to make their effort succeed, and say they hope to collect closer to 900,000 signatures.
Signature gatherers typically try to collect thousands more signatures than is necessary to meet the threshold in the event that some of the signatures are tossed out. In order to meet the threshold for a recall of Polis, the proponents must gather signatures from 25% of the number of people who voted in the last gubernatorial election, which was last year. This year’s number is 631,266 signatures.
Polis, a Democrat, hit his six-month point in office on Monday, which was the first time the proponents could see their recall petition approved. The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office approved the recall petition on Monday.
The backers of the recall petition say they are displeased with Polis’ signing of several bills from the 2019 legislative session, including the “red flag” bill, the local control oil and gas measure and the National Popular Vote Compact bill, though he voiced support for many of those measures early in his tenure.
Polis handily defeated Republican Walker Stapleton in last year’s gubernatorial election, winning 53.4% of the vote to Stapleton’s 42.8%.
Some conservatives have turned to recall efforts to target Democratic lawmakers they are displeased with. Former Rep. Rochelle Galindo, D-Greeley, resigned amid a recall effort targeting her, and an effort to recall Rep. Tom Sullivan, D-Centennial, was tabled last month. There are also talks of an attempt to recall Sen. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, that have been widely panned by Democrats.
Other conservatives have criticized some of the efforts, including former House Assistant Minority Leader Cole Wist, a Centennial Republican who was defeated by Sullivan last November after Rocky Mountain Gun Owners targeted him over his support of last year’s red flag bill.
“A lot of Republicans believe that the strategy is not working, and it won’t work because it’s dividing a party that’s already losing,” Colorado Independent columnist Mike Littwin told Denver7 Monday.
On Monday, House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, told Denver7 in a statement that there were “some in the GOP who would prefer to divide us” but also said that “party infighting needs to stop.”
There are also competing groups that have discussed filing recall petitions against Polis, but the groups have struggled to come together on a singular plan. The Official Recall Colorado Governor Issue Committee said Monday that it “advises to only sign a petition that stands a fighting chance of success” in response to the Dismiss Polis petition.
Polis’ team, however, was more focused on the governor’s accomplishments during his first six months in office on Monday.
“The Governor is focused on governing for all of Colorado and ensuring that every Coloradan - no matter their zip code or political affiliation - has the opportunity to succeed,” said spokesman Conor Cahill. “During his first six months in office, the Governor has created bipartisan solutions to lower the cost of health care, ensure every kid can go to free full-day kindergarten this fall, and cut taxes for small businesses. The Governor will continue to reach across the aisle and hopes that, by tackling key issues for Coloradans, we will continue to bring people together and focus on what unites us.”
And Colorado Democratic Party Chair Morgan Carroll said she was surprised the effort is moving forward.
"I am surprised to see how far the Colorado Republican Party has fallen," Carroll said. "Instead of learning how to run better candidates, who are better on the issues for Coloradans, the Colorado GOP is just showing they’ve been hijacked by extremists who are more interested in ridiculous recalls to overthrow elections than actually moving Colorado forward."