In Colorado, efforts to recall a third anti-gun politician ended this morning with the news that Senator Evie Hudak, who represents the communities of Arvada and Westminster, will resign. Hudak apparently decided that the election, which if lost could have flipped control of the state’s senate, was not worth the risk.
Hudak is one of many who backed Colorado’s hated new gun restrictions, but she is especially disliked among Second Amendment advocates for having callously dismissed the testimony of a rape survivor during a legislative hearing. The full details of that event – and the wider debate around women and firearms – are here.
Having been roundly beaten last time, the gun-control movement changed its tactics for this fight. For September’s recalls, anti-gun advocates managed to outspend their opposition by 8-1. They lost anyway. In September, they brought in heavy hitters from the Obama campaign and beyond, waging a professional campaign against rank amateurs whose campaigns were widely regarded as a waste of time. They lost anyway. In September, they had reams of positive national news coverage. They lost anyway.
This time, in desperation, the gloves came off.
“As we speak, we have multiple cars monitoring us at our offices and filming us from the parking lot,” Mike McAlpine, who headed up the recall effort, told me yesterday. “This is not a one-off event. We hold sign-and-drive events on the sidewalks near to busy intersections, and we hold signs inviting people to pull over and sign the petition. Our opponents have taken to blocking us: as cars pull in, they run up to the driver’s side door and physically stand next to the door so that the person inside cannot open the door and come outside.”
Elsewhere, opponents have formed human chains in order to block anyone who wants to sign. “They yell at the person while they’re at the table trying to sign, or blow an airhorn in their ear,” McAlpine added. “There have been a half-dozen examples of that. In addition, when we go out to knock on doors and present the petition, they will follow us down the sidewalk and scream and yell.” Recently, McAlpine told me, protesters encircled a young black man who was collecting signatures. “They yelled at him, ‘you killed Trayvon! You killed Trayvon!’”
The anti-recall groups also took to distributing flyers accusing those collecting signatures of being sex offenders:
“I have three cars following me at all times,” McAlpine continued. “We have tails in most of our locations, and the police will not address this. We’ve shared the statute with the police. We think this is stalking and intimidation.”
Whether it is or not is difficult to tell. Nonetheless, authorities were of little general help. “There are two public locations,” McAlpine said, “our City Hall and the Department of Motor Vehicles, both of which are public institutions. The police have escorted our people off of those locations with the explicit reason that they would arrest us if we came back because we were asking government employees for signatures, and that is illegal. In our defense, very few people go around with a lapel pin saying, ‘I’m a government employee.’ Of course there are a fair amount of people going in and out of the DMV and City Hall who may or may not be government employees.”
“We stay 100 feet from the entrance to be approximately safe,” McAlpine told me. “Nonetheless, the city has deployed the police to escort us off the premises with the direct threat that they will arrest us next time.”
Now, there will be no next time.
Once again, the Left had poured serious money into the state. Legal filings reveal that the Democracy Defense Fund, which opposed the recall, received $25,000 from the National Education Association, $10,000 from SEIU, and $5,000 from the Colorado AFL-CIO. Records show that, by yesterday, Democracy Defense Fund had received $120,000. “And that’s just one organization opposing us,” McAlpine told me. “To give you some context, our average contribution is somewhere around $71. Every one but three of DDF’s contributions is in the thousands. They have big labor and Democrat money.”
Still, neither the money nor the tactics proved enough. In Denver, Fox reports that the senator
decided to resign rather than risk facing a recall election that, should she lose, would flip control of the senate to Republicans.
Unless there is something extremely peculiar going on, one can only presume that Hudak recognized that she was going to lose. And why wouldn’t she? After the abomination at Sandy Hook, Politico reported, Bill Clinton warned the administration that “the issue of guns has a special emotional resonance in many rural states — and simply dismissing pro-gun arguments is counterproductive.”
Among those states is Colorado. One imagines that Democrats in Denver now wish they had listened.