Giron says she has support in district as opponents submit recall petitions

By Megan Schrader Updated: June 10, 2013 at 11:07 pm • Published: June 10, 2013 | 8:20 pm 0

DENVER - Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, is now the second Colorado Senator waiting to see if her name will appear in a recall election in coming months because of gun legislation she supported.

Giron's critics turned in slightly more than 13,500 signatures on Monday in an effort to recall the second-term Democrat, but the state must verify that at least 11,500 of those are from registered voters living in Senate District 3.

Senate President John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, is also waiting to see if enough signatures are valid to put his name on a recall ballot.

The efforts to recall four Democrats from the Colorado General Assembly began after several gun measures were signed into law, including to ban magazines that hold more than 15 bullets and to require background checks on all gun sales.

Only petitioners for Giron and Morse turned in signatures by the deadlines.

Victor Head, a plumber from Pueblo who is leading the effort to oust Giron, said they have scrutinized the 13,500 signatures to ensure all are registered voters in Giron's district.

Giron first won office in 2010 with somewhat of a wide margin of victory in the heavily Democratic district.

"It's one of those issues where it doesn't really matter what party you're with," Head said. "In Pueblo, Democrats like their guns, independents like their guns and a lot of it is about just their rights . they will resist anything that has to do with government regulation across the board."

But Giron said she has found the level of support in her district heartwarming, despite a vocal minority who has at times made the issue about race.

"I really feel affirmed with the constituents in Senate District 3," Giron said. "I've had gun owners stop and say 'I support you.'"

Giron said she's had volunteers experience racially charged attacks while campaigning for her, such as people yelling from cars "you need to be deported."

But in Head's opinion, Giron held town hall meetings where resoundingly the message was don't restrict our gun rights and then voted in support of the gun legislation in question, although she didn't personally sponsor any of it.

"She listened and then she voted the exact opposite of what her district wanted her to do," Head said.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE

Pueblo United for Angela, a campaign committee, has raised almost $72,000 since April to defend the senator against the recall effort while Head's Pueblo Freedom and Rights committee has reported about $7,300 in contributions.

Giron's money came mostly from three-large donors.

Citizens for Integrity, a non-profit based in Denver, donated $20,000; Mainstream Colorado, a campaign committee based in Denver, donated $15,000 and the Washington D.C.-based Sixteen Thirty Fund gave $35,000.

Meanwhile, Giron's campaign has filed an ethics complaint against Pueblo Freedom and Rights alleging false or incomplete filings, including $1,700 in monetary contributions with no report of who made the contributions, despite the contributions exceeding the $20 limit for remaining anonymous.

Giron said she suspects that seven billboards in Pueblo seeking her recall were not financed with just local money, and questioned whether the opposition is being transparent.

Head said all of their donations have been local in what he called a truly grass-roots effort to unseat Giron, and he said all their financials have been disclosed.

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Contact Megan Schrader: 719-286-0644 Twitter @CapitolSchrader

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