Another recall effort for a Colorado elected Democrat is being launched, and it's something of a repeat from 2013.
A recall committee formed to toss out Democratic Senate President Leroy Garcia of Pueblo announced Monday it is going after the lawmaker because of an alleged a lack of leadership and votes for "special interests."
Susan Carr of Pueblo, a spokeswoman for BadForPueblo.com, said Garcia "has done a horrible job of representing the people of Pueblo and Colorado. He only seems to want to represent his own political interests.”
But Garcia defended his record Monday, saying, in part, "What are you mad about? These fringe groups want to recall people for policy differences."
Recall drives also are underway against Gov. Jared Polis and state Sens. Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood and Pete Lee of Colorado Springs, all Democrats. An earlier recall attemp against state Rep. Tom Sullivan of Centennial was canceled.
The Garcia recall committee includes Victor Head and Ernest Mascarenas, who were both part of the successful effort to recall then-Sen. Angela Giron of Pueblo in 2013.
A statement from BadForPueblo claims the Garcia recall is for "similar grounds" to the Giron recall. Giron was recalled for her vote on gun control measures.
Garcia voted against House Bill 1077, the so-called "red flag" bill that allows family members and law enforcement to seek the removal of firearms from those deemed a significant risk to themselves or to others.
Although Garcia voted against the measure, Carr said that as Senate president, he could have "shelved" that bill as well as Senate Bill 181, the oil and gas regulatory reform law.
SB 181 hits Pueblo particularly hard, Carr said. Oil and gas means jobs and tax revenue for Pueblo, which includes a steel mill that makes pipelines for drilling and exploration. The law "is putting people out of jobs," she told Colorado Politics.
Garcia was one of 19 Senate votes in favor of the measure.
The group is also attacking Garcia's vote in support of Senate Bill 42, committing Colorado to a national popular vote system for electing presidents.
“The national popular vote doesn’t determine the winner of our presidential elections for a reason — one party runs up the vote total in a handful of big coastal cities and tries to undermine the notion that the president has to represent the whole country, not just those cities," the group said in the news release.
It also took issue with Garcia's firing of Secretary of the Senate Effie Ameen and for spending taxpayer money on lawsuits tied to a dispute with Senate Republicans over bill-reading procedures.
Garcia told Colorado Politics that "it's interesting that [the recall organizers] will do their best to create consternation. I feel very good about the district."
He pointed out that he was just re-elected to his second and final term in the state Senate last November with nearly 74% of the vote.
"I have a lot of support from Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters. I don't think there's an appetite for taxpayers to pay up to $275,000 for a special election."
Carr said the group hopes to have a petition filed with the secretary of state by the end of next week. Once approved, it would have 60 days to collect signatures, pushing the deadline for those signatures well past the final deadline for a recall to go on the November general election ballot.
In his conversations with constituents, not everyone agrees with every vote, but he's doing his job, Garcia said.
"This is not being driven organically," he said of the recall effort, claiming that groups outside of Pueblo are pushing the recalls. "These people are grasping at straws."
Carr said the group is affiliated with the recall committee listed on TRACER, the secretary of state's campaign finance database, which has so far reported $255 in donations. Carr said volunteers will obtain the petition signatures.
The recall group plans to host at least four permanent locations around Pueblo for petitions, including an office that opened Monday for that purpose at 3rd and Court in Pueblo.
The group does not yet have a candidate in mind should the recall make the ballot, Carr said.