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Gov. Jared Polis faces a recall just six months after being sworn into office, the minimum amount of time before a recall petition may be circulated or filed.

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The first petition to seek the recall of Gov. Jared Polis — submitted by the group Dismiss Polis — was approved by the Secretary of State’s Office July 8, six months after Polis was sworn into office.

A second recall, targeting state Sen. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, could also be underway, according to a July 8 Facebook post by Republican Nancy Pallozzi, who was defeated by Pettersen for a state House seat in 2016 and leads that recall effort.

Once the petitions are approved, recall backers have 60 days to gather the required signatures.

The Polis recall petition needs 631,266 valid signatures, and Dismiss Polis officials say they’ll seek 900,000. It’s customary to collect at least 20% more than the minimum to compensate for invalid and duplicate signatures.

Dismiss Polis says it has organized “boots on the ground” petition gatherers in all 64 counties. Leaders of a second group, which calls itself the “official” Polis recall organization, couldn’t be reached July 8.

Polis’ office issued a statement: “The Governor is focused on governing for all of Colorado and ensuring that every Coloradan — no matter their ZIP code or political affiliation — has the opportunity to succeed. During his first six months in office, the Governor has created bipartisan solutions to lower the cost of health care, ensure every kid can go to free full-day kindergarten this fall, and cut taxes for small businesses. The Governor will continue to reach across the aisle and hopes that, by tackling key issues for Coloradans, we will continue to bring people together and focus on what unites us.”

The recall against Pettersen will require 18,376 valid signatures. Pallozzi hopes to combine efforts with those seeking signatures for a Polis recall.

A campaign backed by Our Colorado Way of Life already has started efforts to discourage people from signing a recall petition against Pettersen. Its event June 30 in Lakewood drew Attorney General Phil Weiser and U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Arvada.

That issue committee has raised more than $127,000, and spent about $108,000, to oppose recalls of Democratic lawmakers, especially Rep. Tom Sullivan of Centennial. The committee trying to recall Sullivan, led by Colorado GOP Vice Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown, abandoned its efforts last month.

Our Colorado Way of Life began spending money on Facebook ads in support of Pettersen in mid-June. Its largest contributors include the Washington, D.C.-based Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which kicked in $45,000 in April and May. The state Democratic Party has contributed $22,399 in cash and non-monetary donations. A second issue committee, Democracy First Colorado, contributed staff worth $3,000 to Our Colorado Way of Life and has taken in $225,000 in cash.

Its biggest donor, Everytown for Gun Safety, contributed $100,000 on May 28. Education Reform Now Advocacy, the fundraising side of Democrats for Education Reform, contributed $75,000 to Democracy First. And Giffords, the gun-control PAC led by former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was gravely injured in a Tucson mass shooting, gave $10,000.

Dismiss Polis leaders say they want to recall the governor because he signed the National Popular Vote bill, the “red flag” gun law, and the oil and gas regulatory reform law. Pettersen is being targeted primarily over her efforts to pass a bill creating safe drug-injection sites. Such a bill never was introduced in the 2019 session.

Contact the writer, 303-514-9929.

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