The first petition to seek the recall of Gov. Jared Polis — submitted by the group Dismiss Polis — was turned in Monday morning and approved that afternoon, according to a spokesperson for the secretary of state.
Monday marks six months since Gov. Jared Polis was sworn into office. It's also the day that those who seek his recall can officially begin circulating petitions.
A second recall, targeting state Democratic Sen. Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood, could be underway by the end of the week, according to a Monday Facebook post from Republican Nancy Pallozzi, who leads that effort.
Polis recall-backers now have 60 days to gather required signatures. They'll need 631,266 valid ones. Dismiss Polis officials have said they will seek 900,000 signatures. It's customary to collect at least 20% more signatures than the minimum number required in order to account for invalid and duplicate signatures.
The Dismiss Polis group claims it has organized "boots on the ground" petition gatherers in all 64 counties. Whether a second recall group, which calls itself the "official" Polis recall, is ready to move forward is unknown; calls to the group's leadership Monday were not returned.
Polis' office issued a statement Monday in response to the recall attempt, saying, in part, that the governor would continue to "reach across the aisle."
“The governor is focused on governing for all of Colorado and ensuring that every Coloradan — no matter their zip code or political affiliation — has the opportunity to succeed.
"During his first six months in office, the governor has created bipartisan solutions to lower the cost of health care, ensure every kid can go to free full-day kindergarten this fall, and cut taxes for small businesses. The governor will continue to reach across the aisle and hopes that, by tackling key issues for Coloradans, we will continue to bring people together and focus on what unites us.”
The recall against Pettersen will require 18,376 valid signatures. Pallozzi has said that she hopes to combine efforts with those seeking signatures for a Polis recall.
A campaign backed by Our Colorado Way of Life has already started efforts designed to discourage people from signing a recall petition against Pettersen, including an event in Lakewood on June 30 that drew Attorney General Phil Weiser and U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Arvada, both Democrats.
The issue committee has so far raised more than $127,000 to oppose recalls of Democratic lawmakers, with about $108,000 already spent. Much of that went to oppose the recall of Democratic Rep. Tom Sullivan of Centennial. The committee attempting to recall Sullivan, led by Colorado GOP vice chair Kristi Burton Brown, abandoned those efforts last month.
Our Colorado Way of Life began spending money on Facebook ads in support of Pettersen in mid-June.
The largest contributors to Way of Life include the Washington, D.C.-based Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which kicked in $45,000 in April and May. The state Democratic party also has contributed $22,399, both in cash and non-monetary donations. A second issue committee, Democracy First Colorado, made a $3,000 non-cash contribution in the form of staffing to Our Colorado Way of Life, and has taken in $225,000 in cash.
Its biggest donor — Everytown for Gun Safety — contributed $100,000 on May 28. Education Reform Now Advocacy, the fundraising side of Democratic for Education Reform, contributed $75,000 to Democracy First. Giffords, the gun-control PAC led by former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, gave $10,000.
No campaign committee has yet been formed to back the recall of Pettersen.
Reasons for recalling Polis, according to Dismiss Polis, include signing the National Popular Vote bill, the "red flag" law, and the oil and gas regulatory reform law.
Pettersen is being targeted primarily over her efforts on legislation — although it was never introduced in the 2019 session — for safe drug injection sites.
The deadline for returning petitions to the Secretary of State's Office is Sept. 6.