Colorado GOP only got 4 signatures for a recall. They needed 13,506.


Colorado Republicans tried to recall enough state lawmakers to regain a majority in the senate. They failed spectacularly.

With Democrats holding a narrow 19-16 majority in the Colorado state Senate, U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) announced in March that he had a scheme to stop progressive legislation. After Buck was elected as the new state party chair, he vowed to use the state's recall process to remove duly elected Democratic officials during their terms. With the tally in now, it would be an understatement to say his efforts came up short.

Seven months after Buck promised his party that he would teach Colorado Democrats "how to spell R-E-C-A-L-L," the fifth and final recall attempt of the year failed due to lack of signatures. Of the 13,506 valid signatures needed to force a recall election for Democratic state Senate President Leroy Garcia, organizers showed up Friday with just 120 signatures. Hours later, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold announced that only four of those were valid.

In recent months, efforts to recall Democratic Gov. Jared Polis, Democratic state Sens. Brittany Pettersen and Pete Lee, and Democratic state Rep. Tom Sullivan all failed for lack of petition signatures as well. But none of those failures were quite as profound as the Garcia recall effort.

The organizers of the effort to remove the state Senate president told reporters they did not know how many signatures they had but that they were optimistic they might have the 13,506 needed to make it on the ballot. They arrived Friday at the Colorado secretary of state's office carrying two large Budweiser boxes.

Then, one organizer told a Denver Post reporter that they were delivering "at most 120 signatures" and keeping some others for "fear of doxxing." It is unclear why someone would sign a public ballot petition to recall a candidate if they did not want their signature to be submitted.

After his election as chair — with the support of Sen. Cory Gardner (R), the state's sole remaining statewide elected Republican — Buck promised he would "let the world know this is not a blue state."

After his recall scheme went bust and with Gardner's 2020 reelection chances looking unlikely, it looks like Buck might have to reshift his focus.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.