COVER STORY Polis AP

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis at a May 8, 2019, news conference.  (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis Wednesday sent out a request for donations to help him fight back against an attempt to recall him underway a few months after taking office.

But the request for funds is for Polis' campaign committee, not to issue committees already fighting the recall attempt against him and other Democratic state lawmakers.

"They couldn’t win at the polls last year, so they want a do-over — taking advantage of our state law in an attempt to undo the will of the voters," the Democrat said in an email to supporters from his campaign committee, Jared Polis for Colorado.

"Let’s be clear: this is an effort to turn democracy on its head and roll back the progress we’ve made. We can’t let it work," he said.

The former congressman defeated Republican Walker Stapleton last November by a 10.6-percentage-point margin, or 268,087 votes out of 2,525,062 cast.

"When I walk into my office at the Capitol every day, I’m not just there to represent the people who voted for me. I’m there to serve as Governor for all Coloradans, to make sure that everyone in our state has a chance to succeed no matter who they are," Polis said in his email.

"But now, a small group of activists is trying to trigger a recall against me and some of our great state legislators," he said.

A link to a donation button sent via the email routes to an ActBlue site for Jared Polis for Colorado, which the governor also used during the election season to accept donations. 

Polis has not set up a separate campaign finance committee to deal with the recall, according to the Secretary of State's campaign finance database.

The Polis for Colorado committee, which has as its purpose "to serve as the candidate committee for gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis," has raised more than $11,000 since March and through June 30. Polis limits all donations to $100 or less, and the ActBlue site maintains that limit.

But there are several issue committees -- which under Colorado law are groups established to raise funds to support or oppose a ballot measure -- that are already working against the Polis recall and soliciting donations for that effort.

Democracy First Colorado is an issue committee formed to fight against the recall of Democratic lawmakers as well as "statewide elected" Democrats, and through June 30 had raised more than $360,000. The largest of those donations came from gun control groups such as Everytown for Gun Safety and Giffords, the gun-control political action committee run by former Arizona U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Our Colorado Way of Life, also an issue committee, has raised more than $183,000 through June 30, with its largest donations coming from the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, based in Washington, D.C. The committee also states it will fight the recalls against Democratic state lawmakers and statewide elected officials.

Polis' conservative opponents are seeking the governor's recall over a variety of issues, including his support for committing Colorado to a national popular vote for president, a "red flag" law allowing guns to be seized from people deemed a threat, and sweeping changes to the state's oil and gas regulations, all of which he signed into law after they passed the Democrat-controlled legislature.

Under Colorado law, a recall effort does not have to allege wrongdoing by an office holder.

Dismiss Polis, a group seeking Polis' recall, is circulating more than 10,000 petition packets throughout the state, according to a statement. Each petition has room for up to 80 signatures, organizers have said. They hope to solicit at least 900,000 signature to cover the requirement of 631,266 valid signatures by September 6.

The group reported the petitions garnered 4,000 signatures in Fort Collins last weekend, and that lines to sign petitions are up to two hours long.

A second recall group, Resist Polis, also is seeking petitions to recall Democratic state Sens. Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood and Pete Lee of Colorado Springs. Those petitions, which will need 18,376 valid signatures and 11,304 valid signatures, respectively, are also due back in September.

Karen Kataline, spokeswoman for Dismiss Polis, called it "interesting that the fundraising letter is going into his campaign committee and not to fight the recalls. How is that an appropriate purpose?" 

Kataline also responded to arguments made by Polis supporters that "elections have consequences" and that recalls are not an appropriate response short of wrongdoing.

"A winning side doesn't have the right to take away the rights of citizens even though they've won an election," Kataline told Colorado Politics. "These things that people are angry about are against both the Colorado and U.S. Constitution. That's why people are furious," she added.

An unrelated recall group, calling itself the "official" Recall Jared Polis committee, has alleged fraud against the Dismiss Polis and Resist Polis groups.

That group's chair, Juli-Andra Fuentes, said on Facebook Sunday that "we have had to pivot with our original plans due to the hijacking of our original intended recall. The current petition in play has poisoned the chances of running a successful recall this year. If this petition fails, it will embolden the governor and the progressive movement by giving more power to the left. This will make our job MUCH harder to run the recall when the time comes. That being said – WE ARE NOT GIVING UP!!! While this other petition is in play, the committee will be working in the background to devise a new action plan to take back our state." 

The self-proclaimed "official" recall group has so far raised about $102,000 and has spent $34,000 and has never submitted a recall petition to Secretary of State Jena Griswold.

Dismiss has raised more than $20,000 through June 30 and has not yet reported any spending. Resist Polis has raised $45,506 and spent $12,802, mostly on printing and advertising.

(1) comment

Lindner Vicki

All of the money being raised to recall a legitimately elected governor could be used to provide apartments for countless people experiencing homelessness. These recall efforts make me so mad I could spit!


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