Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

Volunteers in Morse recall effort rewarded with gift cards, ammo and gun

By: Alison Noon alison.noon@gazette.com
May 27, 2013 Updated: May 30, 2013 at 11:30 pm
0
photo - Community member of Senate District 11, Dan Bubis and his wife Jax Bubis, left, info the visitors of the Territory Day about recalling Senator John Morse, Saturday, May 25, 2013, in Old Colorado City. Photo by Junfu Han, The Gazette
Community member of Senate District 11, Dan Bubis and his wife Jax Bubis, left, info the visitors of the Territory Day about recalling Senator John Morse, Saturday, May 25, 2013, in Old Colorado City. Photo by Junfu Han, The Gazette 

In a campaign to recall a Colorado Springs state senator over his stance on firearm regulations, supporters can win gun-themed prizes.

Bob Kooser found out Thursday in a mass email to volunteers working to recall Colorado Senate President John Morse that he won a 30-round ammunition magazine.

"We're doing it because we believe in the cause, but it's nice to be recognized," Kooser said.

Other prizes for volunteers with the Basic Freedom Defense Fund and El Paso Freedom Defense Committee campaigns: gift cards, ammunition and a 9 mm pistol.

The prizes underline a cause uniting Morse opponents. As Senate president, the term-limited Democrat pushed a slew of firearm regulations through the state General Assembly this year that expanded background checks, increased firearm-related fees and banned the sale of high-capacity magazines.

Paul Paradis, owner of local gun shop Paradise Sales Firearms and one of the three people who filed the recall petition with the Secretary of State, said the prizes were, in part, his idea. He is donating ammunition and the pistol to reward the hundreds of volunteers working to oust Morse

"I didn't know any other way to thank them," he said.

Volunteers have hit the streets throughout Morse's district in southwestern Colorado Springs gathering signatures to put the recall to a vote. Getting the issue on the ballot requires 7,178 valid signatures from voters registered in the district. That is 25 percent of the 28,712 votes cast in 2010 when Morse narrowly defeated Republican challenger Owen Hill to win the seat. Morse's term expires in 2014.

The prizes aimed at speeding Morse's departure from office may seem odd, but they're legal, Paradis said.

"If an 18-year-old won (the pistol) I'd let them change it to a rifle because they can't legally have a handgun," he said. "This is all legal."

The prizes to volunteers augment a paid signature gathering effort.

Recall-backer Robert Blancken learned about his prize, for being a top signature-gatherer, in an email update from recall organizers. He gave back the $100 gift card.

Blancken said he gathered more than 300 petition signatures for the recall through Friday. He's also earned a 30-round magazine for the gathering the second-highest signature total through May 12.

Tom Cronin, a professor of political science at Colorado College, said he's never heard of a campaign using prizes for volunteers like the ones being doled out in Colorado Springs.

Prizes don't necessarily make campaigns more successful said Cronin, who has written specifically on the subject of recalls in America.

"Recall elections get nasty, but I've never heard of this elsewhere," Cronin said.

Morse supporters and opponents have been trading barbs for weeks, alleging dirty campaigning.

As of Thursday, no complaints have been filed with the Secretary of State's office regarding the Morse recall petition.

Ryan Parsell, spokesman for elections at the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office, said that a few people have called to complain about robo-calls and mailers from both sides of the recall, but no formal complaints can be filed with the county until the petition is verified by the state.

While there are no formal complaints, that doesn't mean the campaign isn't getting on people's nerves. A King Soopers store manager had to step in Wednesday afternoon when a group of petitioners was found collecting signatures out front of the business near 19th and Uintah streets against company policy. According to King Soopers spokeswoman Kelli McGannon, it's a policy that's not unique to the one grocery company.

The signature gathering may be over soon.

Organizer Rob Harris, who called himself a spokesman for the recall effort, declined to comment on the exact number of signatures collected, but he said that it has climbed past the 7,178 mark. He said recall backers are preparing for the state to invalidate up to 50 percent of the signatures on petitions - meaning that they're looking for more than 14,000 signers.

"What we're working on right now is our buffer," Blancken said.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

Some news is free.
Exceptional journalism takes time, effort and your support.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.