Rivera issues debate challenge
Giron says she may accept, if venue is neutral
George Rivera formally challenged state Sen. Angela Giron to a public debate Saturday.
Giron responded, saying she sees no need to debate him right now.
“This is not a typical election, it’s an election to undo the 2010 election,” she said in an emailed response. “I have no problem comparing my record to anyone’s, especially Mr. Rivera’s, who is so out of touch with Pueblo’s needs. This is not two candidates running against each other and at this time and I see no need to debate him. But if a neutral party puts together a forum, I will consider it.”
Rivera said it’s not a matter of if, but when, he wins the special recall election against Giron scheduled for Sept. 10.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a close election,” the Republican hopeful Rivera said. “People are upset and will make their voices heard. It’s going to be a big margin.”
Rivera spoke at the Town Hall at the Pueblo West Library in front of a mix of 30 Republicans, Democrats and independent voters.
Rivera said he handed in more than 1,500 petitions to Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s office on Friday. It will take the signatures of 1,000 registered voters to get Rivera on the recall ballot.
“I have no doubt that I will be on the ballot and no doubt at all there will be enough valid signatures,” Rivera said.
Rivera said he got support from all parties when he was out collecting signatures for the petition around town.
“When I was out with volunteers getting the petitions signed, for every Republican that signed one there was a Democrat or an unaffiliated voter,” he said.
Rivera responded to criticisms that the recall election is too costly to taxpayers.
“They say this recall is over the top and it costs too much but that’s not what it’s about,” Rivera said. “It’s about whether you’re being represented in the Legislature and whether your senator is representing your interests in their district. This is about a senator who I believe has not represented her constituents well”
A number of people in the crowd expressed concern that Rivera hasn’t been campaigning as hard as Giron.
“The other campaign is exceptionally organized and are sending out glossy postcards and spend, spend, spend,” one unidentified woman in the audience said.
Rivera responded by saying his campaigning would begin full-throttle once the signatures on the petition he turned in are verified and he’s officially on the ballot.
“We have to organize ourselves. We need volunteers and we need folks out walking, contacting and making calls and do our part to combat that side,” Rivera said. “Money in and of itself won’t win an election. You have to convince voters you are the right person. Sen. Giron has to convince them and she has her record to justify which will be a hard thing to do.”