Recall petitions against two Colorado Democratic lawmakers were approved Friday by the Secretary of State’s Office.
The recall drives target state Sens. Pete Lee of Colorado Springs and Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood.
The filers are Republicans Scott David Fisher of Colorado Springs for Lee and Nancy Pallozzi of Lakewood for Pettersen. Both petitions are backed by the same group that backed the recall petition against Gov. Jared Polis, the Resist Polis PAC.
Both now have 60 days to gather sufficient petition signatures to qualify the recall for the ballot. The petition to recall Lee will need 11,304 valid signatures, while Pettersen’s petition will need 18,376.
The filing on Lee says that he should be recalled “because he sponsored legislation to create a paid family and medical leave program to be funded by a mandatory tax on businesses and employees, disingenuously referring to it as a ‘fee’ instead of a tax.”
Recall backers also complained that Lee voted for the bills committing Colorado to a national popular vote for president, an oil and gas reform measure, a bill updating the state’s comprehensive sex education curriculum and the “red flag” law that allows family or law enforcement to petition a court to remove firearms from those considered to be a threat.
“I am disappointed that radical activists have decided to disrespect the voters of Senate District 11 and undermine the electoral process,” Lee told Colorado Politics. “I was elected eight months ago by 60% of the voters. To overturn the will of the people because of a disagreement on a couple of votes is inconsistent with our democratic process.
“They couldn’t defeat me in the election so they’re taking the back door of a recall.”
According to the recall filing against Pettersen, she is being targeted because she advocated for “taxpayer- funded heroin injection sites” a reference to a withdrawn proposal to allow a supervised drug injection site in Denver. Recall backers also cited Pettersen’s votes on the same bills listed for Lee, as well as for voting for a bill on school vaccines.
While she spoke out in support of the proposal, Pettersen never voted on the immunization bill; it was laid over until after the session, effectively killing the bill and no recorded vote was ever taken in the Senate. The bill was approved by the Senate Finance Committee but Pettersen is not a member of that committee.
Pallozzi lost to Pettersen in 2016 for the Lakewood House seat by 20 percentage points.
In a statement, Pettersen said “extremists are trying to overturn the will of the voters by launching a misguided and unjustified recall against me. I ran and won the last election campaigning on the issues I championed [in the] last legislative session. I am proud of my record working on behalf of our community, and I firmly believe that voters will see through this cynical ploy.”