Braving unseasonably cold and blustery weather, a robust crowd of about 650 gun-rights supporters lined the streets and gathered around the student center of Colorado Mesa University today in protest of Governor John Hickenlooper’s appearance at Club 20.
As part of its legislative forums held on the campus of CMU in Grand Junction, Club 20 hosted Governor Hickenlooper as well as other political figures who have close ties to the Western Slope such as District 3 United States Congressman Scott Tipton, District 55 Colorado Representative Ray Scott, and District 54 Colorado Representative Jared Wright, among others. Liberal Democrat John Hickenlooper is a fish out of water in the company of Colorado’s representatives from the conservative western counties, but with the citizens of Mesa, Montrose, Garfield and other surrounding counties, the governor is a fish in hot water.
The protest/rally which was organized by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, Mesa County Patriots, Freedom Colorado and other Western Slope grassroots organizations, attracted numerous men, women and children who have not previously been involved politically. The political affiliations of these protesters was not fully clear, but their passion for personal liberty was on full display, and it appears they take the threat posed by Democrat legislators in Denver very seriously.
The organizers of the rally had hoped to surround the student center at CMU to ensure that when Governor Hickenlooper arrived to prepare for his speech, scheduled for 12:30 p.m., he would see with his own eyes and hear with his own ears the disapproval by citizens of the gun control measures he signed into law just days ago. Hickenlooper, whose base of opposition, politically and philosophically, is concentrated in the Western Slope counties, most likely knew he would be met with a cold shoulder and opted to sneak into the Club 20 meetings before protesters gathered outside.
The most prevalent theme echoed on the signs carried by those protesting Governor Hickenlooper’s gun control laws can be summed up in a few short phrases, “one-term,” “recall the governor,” and “impeach.” The chances that Hickenlooper, who still has a lot of support among Democrats and moderates on the Front Range, will be recalled or impeached are slim. But 2014 is just around the corner and there is no doubt that grassroots conservatives in Colorado will have a strong candidate to challenge him in his run for a second term. The Western Slope is one of the primary focal points of opposition to Governor Hickenlooper. Is it possible that the candidate who will challenge him in 2014 will also arise from the Western Slope?