Morse recalled in close vote
Senate president out of office
COLORADO SPRINGS — Gun-rights advocates unseated Colorado Senate President John Morse Tuesday.
The recall election attracted money and attention nationwide, but ultimately involved only about 18,000 voters in state Senate District 11 that includes central and western Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs.
The unofficial results were close — voters supported ousting Morse 51 percent to 49 percent.
“You’re not judged by how you got knocked down, but by how you got back up. Our last session was phenomenal and the next session will be even better,” Morse said to a room full of tearful volunteers at the Wyndham Hotel. “The loss of this seat for the next 16 months is purely symbolic. Democrats, the party of working families, still holds the majority in both chambers.”
Morse was poised to return to the state Capitol in January as sitting president of the Senate.
Instead, Bernie Herpin, a local Republican who founded one of the area’s largest gun organizations, will take Morse’s seat as a freshman lawmaker.
“Thank you for standing up for yourselves and demanding to be heard,” Herpin told a packed room at the El Paso County Republican Party headquarters. “By your votes, you have sent a loud and clear message that you’ll no longer tolerate elected officials who refuse to listen to their constituents and trample on our rights.”
Before the recall, Democrats had a 20-15 majority in the Senate. The margin is now 18-17, giving Democrats little wiggle room on issues when legislators cross party lines.
Turnout was shockingly low in Colorado Springs, given the media blitz that hit voters in recent weeks. Of about 69,000 registered voters in Senate District 11, only about 17,833 turned out.
The laws that sparked the recall efforts banned magazines that hold more than 15 bullets; required background checks on all gun sales, including those between private parties; charged a fee for those background checks; required concealed carry classes to be conducted in person and empowered judges to remove guns from suspects in domestic abuse cases.