Earlier this year, Colorado voters recalled two Democratic state senators over controversial gun-control votes. Today, a third Democratic senator, Evie Hudak, opted to resign rather than face a recall election of her own. After two months of heavy canvassing, it was clear that recall supporters were on the verge of gathering enough signatures to certify a new ballot. If that were to happen, Republican Lang Sias — who lost to Hudak by half a percentage point in 2012 — would likely have picked up the seat, flipping control of the state senate in the process.
Oddly, this particular recall effort leaves Colorado Democrats stronger than they were before. Hudak was not only controversial, she was term limited. By stepping down, she allows her party to appoint a more mainstream candidate with the ability to run as an incumbent in the next general election. And most important, Hudak’s resignation ensures that Democrats will maintain their one-seat margin in the state senate in the upcoming legislative session.
One suspects this isn’t the last shoe to drop. With threats of retaliation already being made by a well-funded progressive machine, some are beginning to wonder whether recall elections may become the new normal in Colorado legislative politics.
— Rob Witwer is a former member of the Colorado house of representatives and the co-author of the book The Blueprint: How the Democrats Won Colorado (and Why Republicans Everywhere Should Care).