Once derided as a rag tag effort destined to fail, the organizers of the recall campaign of Senate President John Morse proved their naysayers wrong and turned in over double the minimum number of signatures required this morning.

To initiate a recall election of Morse, 7,178 signatures were required. Organizers easily topped that this morning. As KDVR‘s Eli Stokols scooped:

DENVER — The group working to recall Colorado Senate President John Morse over the passage of Democratic gun control legislation earlier this year turned in more than 16,000 signatures at the Secretary of State’s office Monday.

That’s more than double the number of valid signatures — 7,178, a percentage of voter turnout in 2010 when Morse was elected — that will be needed to force a recall election in El Paso County later this year.

Morse’s backers will have a couple weeks to review the signatures and to contest those that they believe may be invalid; then the Secretary of State’s office will go to work reviewing all the signatures and determining how many valid ones were received.

The exact number of signatures, per the recall organizers, is 16,046. Per their press release:

The results of this historic recall effort were achieved despite the efforts of NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, Morse’s robocalls to voters, false attacks on signature collectors’ reputations and Morse’s political machine headed by Ed Hall, Chairman of the Denver Democrats and filing agent for Morse’s antirecall group “A Whole Lot of People for John Morse.” Hall is known for his Democrat Party biography referring to Colorado Springs as a “…right-wing, religious whack-job stronghold.”*

What makes this especially damaging for Morse — who pushed a gun control bill dubbed “insane…absolutely nuts” by Democratic Rep. Ed Vigil — is that he only received 13,866 votes in his last election in 2010.

We think it’s safe to say the anger and frustration among his constituents is palpable.

Whether Morse will resign his seat to avoid the recall is still a possibility, despite Morse’s protestations that he will stay in to the “bitter end.”

A recall election could be a tough challenge for Morse as it will be a special election, whose electorate is likely to be less Democratic than one turning out in a presidential year or even a regularly scheduled November election.

Should Morse lose the recall campaign it will send a shot across the bow of Democrats and those in favor of gun control across the country. We’re betting Mayor Bloomberg is whipping out his checkbook as we speak.

UPDATE: The Associated Press adds some historical context to this monumental achievement:

Gun-rights activists have turned in petition signatures to set up the first recall of a state lawmaker in Colorado history.