Cole Wist
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(Photo by Ernest Luning, Colorado Politics)

{span class=”caption-text”}Cole Wist, former Colorado state House assistant minority leader.{/span}

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Former state Rep. Cole Wist, R-Centennial, on Tuesday blasted state GOP leadership and Rocky Mountain Gun Owners for seeking to recall the Democrat who defeated him in November.

His successor, Rep. Tom Sullivan, is a strong gun control supporter whose son Alex was murdered in the 2012 Aurora theater shootings that killed 12 moviegoers.

Wist broke ranks with Republicans last year to back a version of the “red flag” bill, which lets a judge review evidence that a gun owner poses a threat to himself or others. If so, those guns can be held temporarily while the owner gets help.

Sullivan backed this year’s version, which passed in the Democrat-controlled legislature and was signed by Gov. Jared Polis.

Wist tweeted Tuesday: “I was in denial. Until yesterday. Last year, state GOP leadership failed to speak up to defend me when RMGO carpet bombed my house district with negative flyers. Now, these same leaders pledge to work with RMGO to take out my successor in a recall. I do not support this effort.”

In another tweet, Wist added: “It is unfortunate but crystal clear. RMGO owns the Colorado Republican Party.”

RMGO announced May 2 that it would sue to overturn the law and would work to recall nine House members and three state senators. RMGO and its backers last year targeted Wist as anti- gun.

Wist tweeted to RMGO Executive Director Dudley Brown: “Sorry to break it to you, Dudley. You didn’t ‘ruin my life.’ I lost an election. Get some perspective. Compared to what folks go through every day, my bad election day is just so insignificant. I am blessed with an amazing family and great friends. I will be just fine.”

Rep. Matt Gray, D-Broomfield, responded to Wist’s tweets: “We have surely disagreed, but @colewist is one of the most honorable people I’ve met in this state. I know what it’s like not to support a recall that some of your friends want. If you want leaders with integrity instead of blind partisanship, stand with the people who show it.”

The recall targets Sullivan for his sponsorship of House Bill 1177, this year’s red flag bill. The recall petition, approved Monday by the Secretary of State’s Office, was initiated by Kristi Burton Brown, vice chair of the state GOP, in her personal capacity.

“We will evaluate the HD 37 recall as it proceeds, just as we do with any potential recall or election,” said U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, state party chairman.

Republicans would have to win all 12 of the recalls it plans in order to take control of either the House or Senate, a tall order that grew a bit taller when one of those targets, Rep. Rochelle Galindo, D-Greeley, resigned Sunday. A Democratic House District 50 committee will appoint her replacement.

Sullivan did not return a call for comment.

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