When the recharged effort to recall State Senator Evie Hudak began, political observers were quick to castigate it as political overreach that would surely backfire on its backers.
But, like many snap judgments, it’s not necessarily accurate.
The recall effort underway to unseat one of the legislature’s most arrogant and out-of-touch members could end up being a win-win scenario for conservatives and gun rights activists.
The battle to get the recall on the ballot is no doubt a big one. It will require about 19,000 valid signatures from registered voters in her district – far more than were required to initiate the recalls of Senators Angela Giron and John Morse. That is because Hudak’s last election was a presidential year, with bigger turnout and thus the recall threshold of 25% of votes for the politician’s previous election is a lot more voters.
But this time Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) is throwing their lot in with the recallers early on. During the Morse and Giron recalls, RMGO sat on the sidelines until the recalls made the ballot. With the muscle of the most powerful gun rights group in Colorado assisting this time, a labor intensive effort like gathering signatures will get a big boost.
Should the Recall Hudak Too campaigners successfully gather the required amount of signatures, Evie Hudak will have some hard decisions to make. She can resign, allowing Democrats to appoint a replacement and end the recall process right there. Or she can choose to fight the recall and risk losing the 18-17 Democratic majority in the State Senate.
Hudak told The Denver Post‘s Kurtis Lee in an A1 story yesterday that she has “no intentions” of resigning. However, we bet some big time Democrats would lean heavily on her should the recall become a reality.
At this point, there are basically four scenarios that could play out and none of them are particularly good for Democrats:
1. The recallers fail to get enough signatures: Should the recallers fail in their efforts, it will have meant a few months of making Hudak and Colorado Democrats sweat and spend campaign cash and staff time to defend Hudak.
2. Recallers get the signatures; Hudak resigns: Democrats will keep their State Senate majority, but one of the worst members of the legislature is gone. A wholly owned subsidiary of the teachers union, Hudak is terrible for Colorado on far more than just guns. If she resigns, it will also provide another clear signal nationally that crossing gun rights supporters is about the most politically perilous thing you can do.
3. Recallers get the signatures; Hudak fights and loses: If Hudak decides to fight the recall at the ballot box, she will be facing a far less friendly district than either Morse or Giron had. Obama won both Morse and Giron’s districts by over 20 points in 2012. Hudak’s district was the tightest margin in the state. She also has a raft of baggage to confront that makes Morse’s ethical troubles pale in comparison. From insulting a rape victim to almost being charged with criminal trespass for barging into a former supporters’ home to berate them for backing her opponent, Hudak’s history is ready made for devastating attack ads. We can’t imagine Democrats will want her dirty laundry aired for all to see on TV. Should she lose, Democrats will lose their coveted majority and an even clearer signal will be sent about crossing 2nd Amendment supporters.
4. Recallers get the signatures; Hudak fights and wins. Like the first option, Democrats would prefer this eventuality over #2 or #3, but it still means spending a whole heap of cash defending a rather unlikable incumbent. Democrats will be forced to keep talking about guns, which many of their strategists are loathe to do, and have to defend a politician who condescendingly (and falsely) told a rape victim that having a gun wouldn’t have prevented her rape. If there was any politician Democrats would gladly defend publicly, we’d guess Evie Hudak has got to be down toward the bottom of that list.
We just don’t see any of these four scenarios being positive for Democrats. They all involve spending significant sums of money defending a truly loathed legislator in a swing district. For conservatives and gun rights activists, that seems like a win-win to us.