Polis at PPCC

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis talks during a news conference in 2019 at Pikes Peak Community College.

Now that Dismiss Polis has the OK for its petition to recall Gov. Jared Polis, the self-avowed “official” recall group is urging fellow Republicans not to sign the Dismiss Polis petition.

In a Monday night Facebook post, hours after the Secretary of State’s Office approved Dismiss Polis’ petition, a Facebook post urged voters to “please be careful about signing Dismiss petitions. This is not a scare tactic. I don’t play games,” wrote Shelly Foland, Jefferson County moderator for the “official” group.

The Dismiss group doesn’t intend “to win the recall, but their purpose is to get contact info for a conservative ‘structure’ by circulating their petitions,” Foland alleged.

Cassandra Cooper, from the Adams County “official” group, echoed that sentiment, posting: “I personally believe this is a sabotage attempt to prevent a successful recall.”

But Dismiss Polis spokeswoman Karen Kataline denied those accusations.

“If that’s so, why are there people in every county, and events and signing locations all over the state? Why do we have money committed to gathering a million signatures,” she asked, if collecting names for a database is all they want?

“We will give it our very best effort,” Kataline said. “Why throw stones at something they (the ‘official’ group) profess to agree with?”

The Dismiss Polis website lists dozens of sites to access the petitions statewide, including 15 in El Paso County, eight in Weld and five in Pueblo.

It doesn’t yet have sites in some of the most populous counties, including Adams and Denver, and it only has one place each in Boulder and Jefferson counties.

But Dismiss Polis intends to have petitions in all 64 counties within the week, is having seven kickoff events this week and promises to have petitions at county fairs through the summer.

The “official” group — named Official Recall Colorado Governor Jared Polis — has not yet submitted a recall petition to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Foland posted Monday that the group is waiting to see the Dismiss petition fail. When it has the resources to do so, it will launch its own effort, she said.

On its Facebook page, the “official” group said: “After careful consideration and financial review of the conglomerate group Resist Polis PAC, Recall Et All and Dismiss Polis, it is clear to us that a petition filed at this time will be a failure due to lack of adequate resources and no defined strategy. This conglomerate has stated their intention to file July 10th under the Dismiss Polis Issue Committee.”

The post cited the fundraising gap between the groups, noting that “without adequate funding or clear plan of action, Dismiss does not have the necessary infrastructure in place to conduct this recall, and while the intention may be good, we believe the recall needs to be handled with proper due diligence and the highest degree of planning to ensure the greatest chance of success.”

In addition, it said, the “official” group “believes Dismiss’ premature filing also suggests malicious intent, and though we hope that is not the case, we have evidence suggesting Resist/Dismiss may attempt to hijack our ORCGJP name and logo. We feel we must warn potential signers that ORCGJP will not file a petition until we know we can win and have a well-oiled machine ready to roll.”

Not so, said Resist Polis PAC members, who accused Robert Rojas, son of the “official” group’s agent, Juli-Andra Fuentes, of hijacking a name they intended to use — Colorado Against Polis — and registering it as an issue committee June 11.

The “official” group’s issue committee has raised about $96,000 and spent about $40,000, finance reports show. It has spent more than $10,000 so far on consultants, including $5,000 to the law firm of former Secretary of State Scott Gessler. The group’s largest donation to date, $3,000, came from Longmont Realtor Regina Cheyney.

Resist Polis, by contrast, has raised $45,000 and spent about $12,000, with more than $9,000 going to advertise on Facebook and on billboards.

And what if there are two recall petitions. Could someone sign both?

A voter who signed a recall Polis petition, even if its signatures later were deemed insufficient, could not sign a second petition for a Polis recall, the Secretary of State’s Office advised.

There are some exceptions. If the first petition isn’t submitted, or the petitions aren’t officially reviewed by the Secretary of State’s Office because of insufficient signatures, or if the person’s signature was rejected for some reason, such as being illegible, then signing a second petition would be allowed.

Dismiss Polis has until Sept. 6 to collect 631,266 valid signatures, but it’s aiming for at least 900,000.

Dismiss also now is partnering with Oregon voters on a recall being launched against their governor, Kate Brown, who signed bills similar to those that passed in Colorado, such as the “red flag” law, Kataline said.

“We encourage and cheer the people in Oregon,” she said.

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