The Pueblo West View
politics

Gessler: Governor beatable

Says recent recall elections are proof

When Secretary of State Scott Gessler was the featured guest at a Pueblo County Republican Party meeting last March, he was shaking hands and asking for support for his re-election campaign.

Sec. of State Scott Gessler talks about running for governor on Wednesday, Sept.18, 2013 in Pueblo, Colo. (Chris McLean, The Pueblo Chieftain)
Sec. of State Scott Gessler talks about running for governor on Wednesday, Sept.18, 2013 in Pueblo, Colo. (Chris McLean, The Pueblo Chieftain)

Six months later — and after the recall election of two Democratic state senators — Gessler is now after Gov. John Hickenlooper’s job.

“I think it’s a winnable race and those recall elections are just a reflection of the dissatisfaction in the state,” Gessler said Wednesday in Pueblo.

Gessler has been a high-profile Republican while overseeing state elections. He’s clashed with Democrats over election rules, gone to court to prevent ballots being sent to inactive voters and demanded the federal Department of Homeland Security review voter rolls for illegal voters.

At the same time, the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission fined him for misusing state funds in 2012.

All of which has given Gessler a highly recognized name with both Republicans and Democrats.

“People know who I am,” he said. “They know I stand for principle and that I keep my promises.”

Gessler has Republican company in stalking Hickenlooper. Former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo is a candidate, as is state Sen. Greg Brophy. And that group could get bigger.

Gessler faults Hickenlooper for supporting the three new gun-control laws that triggered the recall elections of state Sens. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, and John Morse, D-Colorado Springs.

Gessler doesn’t support gun control and would repeal those three laws, which expand background checks, require gun buyers to pay the $10 cost and limit gun magazines to just 15 rounds.

“Even Democrats will admit, those laws aren’t going to do anything for public safety,” he said.

He also criticizes the governor for refusing to make a decision on the execution of convicted killer Nathan Dunlap. Hickenlooper indefinitely postponed Dunlap’s execution this year, leaving that decision to the governor who follows him.

“If he doesn’t believe in the death penalty, he should have had the courage to act on it,” Gessler said.

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