Hu­dak fights re­call drive with D.C. cash

Funds ag­gres­sive ef­fort to stay in of­fice

The Washington Times Daily - - Nation - BY VALERIE RICHARD­SON

AR­VADA | Colorado state Sen. Evie Hu­dak, the lat­est Demo­crat to be swept up in the state’s re­call brush­fire, is fight­ing back with a cash in­fu­sion from Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

Two pro-Hu­dak is­sue com­mit­tees have raised $50,428 since Oct. 23 to fight the re­call ef­fort, with $30,000 com­ing from En­vi­ron­men­tal Ma­jor­ity, a Wash­ing­ton-based po­lit­i­cal ac­tion com­mit­tee, ac­cord­ing to cam­paign fi­nance re­ports.

That war chest — more than twice what re­callers have raised in their push to place the Demo­crat on the re­call bal­lot — has al­lowed the Hu­dak cam­paign to blan­ket her sub­ur­ban Jef­fer­son County dis­trict with door-hang­ers, robo­calls and yard signs urg­ing res­i­dents not to sign the re­call pe­ti­tions.

Pro-Hu­dak pro­test­ers, some of whom are af­fil­i­ated with la­bor unions, have also waged an ag­gres­sive street cam­paign to dis­cour­age res­i­dents from sign­ing, in some cases us­ing bull­horns, tam­bourines and other noise­mak­ers to scare off vot­ers at sign-and-drive sites.

“We had a gen­tle­man, a World War II vet­eran, who couldn’t walk very well but made his way to the sign-and-drive at the King Soop­ers, and they were honk­ing horns and shak­ing tam­bourines in his ears,” said Joe Neville, po­lit­i­cal di­rec­tor of Rocky Moun­tain Gun Own­ers, which is sup­port­ing the re­call.

Mike McAlpine, an or­ga­nizer of Re­call Hu­dak Too, says the robo­calls have put a damper on sig­na­ture-gath­er­ing. The com­mit­tee needs to sub­mit about 18,900 valid sig­na­tures by Dec. 3 in or­der to force a re­call elec­tion.

“This is a com­mu­nity alert for Ar­vada and West­min­ster from the Democ­racy De­fense Fund,” says a robo­call mes­sage posted on sev­eral me­dia web­sites. “Paid sig­na­ture­gath­er­ers who have not gone through a crim­i­nal back­ground check could be in West­min­ster and Ar­vada this week ask­ing for sig­na­tures on a re­call pe­ti­tion. Do not sign this pe­ti­tion.”

Vol­un­teers at the Re­call Hu­dak Too store­front of­fice in Ar­vada said the robo­calls sound like a re­verse 911 call that would be is­sued by po­lice in the event of an emer­gency.

“The robo­calls are af­fect­ing peo­ple such as se­niors who mostly stay at home,” said Mr. McAlpine. “It sounds like an of­fi­cial pub­lic-ser­vice an­nounce­ment, and they’re very con­cerned about it.”

Re­call Hu­dak Too has raised $23,296 from nearly 500 donors, most of them Colorado res­i­dents con­tribut­ing $100 or less. So far the group is re­ly­ing on its army of vol­un­teers to col­lect sig­na­tures, but Mr. McAlpine said they may soon have to turn to paid sig­na­ture-gath­er­ers.

“We’re right on the edge of com­mit­ting to that,” said Mr. McAlpine. “We’re in this to win.”

The Hu­dak re­call comes as the lat­est back­lash to the Demo­crat-con­trolled state leg­is­la­ture’s sweep­ing gun-con­trol bills, signed into law by Gov. John Hick­en­looper in March. Vot­ers re­called Se­nate Pres­i­dent John Morse of Colorado Springs and state Sen. An­gela Giron of Pue­blo in the state’s his­toric Sept. 10 spe­cial elec­tion.

In some re­spects, Mrs. Hu­dak should be an eas­ier tar­get, given that her dis­trict is evenly split be­tween Democrats and Repub­li­cans. She barely won her seat in 2012, pulling out a 342-vote vic­tory in a race that also fea­tured a Lib­er­tar­ian Party can­di­date.

On the other hand, the pe­ti­tion hur­dle is more than 6,000 sig­na­tures higher than it was in the pre­vi­ous re­calls. In ad­di­tion, Democrats who ini­tially dis­missed the Giron and Morse re­calls are not about to make the same mis­take twice.

On a sunny Satur­day af­ter­noon, dozens of ad­vo­cates on both sides waved signs at pass­ing cars along Wadsworth Boule­vard, Ar­vada’s main drag. In­ter­spersed be­tween the bright yel­low “Re­call Hu­dak” signs were “No Re­call” and “De­cline to Sign” plac­ards.

“I sup­port what I be­lieve is right. I’m a part of the la­bor move­ment and that’s all I’ll tell you,” said a young man with an anti-re­call sign and a “Sheet Metal Work­ers” T-shirt who de­clined to give his name.

Nearby, Au­drey Kline, a re­cent Ar­vada West High School grad­u­ate who held a home­made “Gun Own­ers for Hu­dak” sign, said that Mrs. Hu­dak’s votes in fa­vor of three gun-con­trol bills had no im­pact on her gun rights.

“In fact, I feel safer be­cause the bills were passed,” said Ms. Kline. “This is not about guns. It’s about a ma­jor­ity in the Se­nate, and Evie’s been one of the most sup­port­ive peo­ple in the Se­nate of what I be­lieve in.”

Democrats hold an 18 to 17 ma­jor­ity in the state Se­nate, which would flip if Mrs. Hu­dak were re­called and suc­ceeded by a Repub­li­can. An­a­lysts agree that Democrats would never al­low that, and would push in­stead for Mrs. Hu­dak to re­sign and be re­placed by another Demo­crat if the re­call pe­ti­tions qual­ify.

Even if Mrs. Hu­dak were to re­sign, those in fa­vor of the re­call said they hoped the cam­paign would send a mes­sage to the state leg­is­la­ture, which has been de­scribed as the most lib­eral in state his­tory.

“I’m a third-gen­er­a­tion Coloradoan, and this isn’t the Colorado I grew up in,” said Bob Kago­hara, wear­ing a pro-Sec­ond Amend­ment T-shirt and hold­ing a “Re­call Hu­dak” sign. “Peo­ple from Cal­i­for­nia have moved in and turned it into a Bloomberg state.”


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