UPDATE #5: Arvada City Council member Rachel Zenzinger made her candidacy official in a Tweet late this evening.
— Rachel Zenzinger (@Zenzinger_AtoZ) November 28, 2013
UPDATE #4: Jefferson County Democrats are fortunate to have a very deep bench of qualified successors to Sen. Evie Hudak, and after the holiday weekend, the selection process for the next Democratic Senator representing Senate District 19 will be off and running. The three names coming up in discussion today, though there may certainly be others, are former Rep. Sara Gagliardi, Arvada City Councilwoman and former Hudak campaign manager Rachel Zenzinger, as well as incumbent Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharpe, who presently holds the partly overlapping House District 29 seat. The Colorado Statesman's Peter Marcus is already following up those possibilities:
The names that pop up are former Rep. Sara Gagliardi, who was defeated in 2010 by Republican Libby Szabo of Arvada; Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp of Arvada; and Arvada City Councilwoman Rachel Zenzinger, Hudak’s former campaign manager and a close friend.
All three women have confirmed to The Statesman that they are at least considering pursuing the opportunity.
“I’m considering; I’m thinking about it; I’m weighing my options,” said Kraft-Tharp. “I’m looking at what’s best for the district…
Gagliardi was less forthcoming, saying only that she is considering the possibility.
“I’m just now adjusting to the idea that Evie had to step down because all of us in Senate District 19 in Arvada and in Westminster were working hard to keep her in office,” said Gagliardi. “We feel that she is the best one to represent us… I’m talking to my family about my decision.”
Zenzinger, who had already been considering running for the seat when Hudak would have been term limited in 2016, said she now must consider an earlier approach.
Image via Twitter
UPDATE #3: From Kerrie Dallman, President of the Colorado Education Association:
While the events leading up to her resignation were not related to public education, our members and families across Colorado know her years of support for schools and students are her crowning achievements and her lasting legacy…
CEA warmly thanks Evie for her years of steadfast support for public education and public education employees. We will miss her passion and her commitment toward making Colorado a national leader in public education and giving every child the opportunity to grow and thrive. Colorado is a better place because of Evie’s selfless service.
And from LGBT advocacy group One Colorado:
From day one, Senator Evie Hudak has been a tireless advocate for all Coloradans – including thousands of loving, committed couples across our state who now have the protections they need to take care of each other and their families. From her steadfast support of civil unions to her leadership in making our schools safer for LGBT youth, Senator Hudak has always stood up for our community as a proud champion for equality. While her incredible dedication will be missed in the Senate, today’s courageous decision ensures that her constituents won’t have to see hundreds of thousands of tax dollars wasted on an unnecessary recall election. With appreciation and enormous gratitude, we look forward to Senator Hudak’s continued work to advance fairness and equality for Colorado families in every corner of our state.
AnnMarie Jensen, a lobbyist for organizations representing domestic violence victims:
I've worked to represent domestic violence survivors and families, among the most vulnerable in our society, for years, and Evie has always been their champion. Domestic abuse victims needed someone to given them a voice and Evie was always there. This is a courageous decision by Evie, a woman who supported the DV community when they needed it most, even in the face of personal threats. Her strength will be missed and and her values will always be needed for Coloradans.
Colorado AFL-CIO President Cindy Kirby:
Senator Hudak never stopped fighting for Colorado working families and the more than 12,000 AFL-CIO household voters in her district. As my state senator, I thank her deeply for her service to our members and her constituents. Her resignation saves her constituents from the ordeal of an unnecessary, nasty recall campaign. Additionally, Evie's selfless act saves her constituents hundreds of thousands of tax dollars that would have been wasted on this recall election. This resignation is just one of many examples of Evie putting her constituent'sinterests before her own. We look forward to continuing to work with Evie in our community to improve the lives of working people. I’m deeply saddened at how these recalls have broken the democratic process.
UPDATE #2: From Karen Middleton, former legislator and executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado:
This is an incredibly courageous decision by a legislator who has always stood for mainstream Colorado values and voters when it comes to reproductive rights. Evie Hudak has been a champion for what we as Coloradans believe and fighting for Colorado women and families. Her values represent the people of her district and the people of Colorado and we need more like her, not extremists, moving Colorado forward and protecting the values we share.
UPDATE: We've just received Senator Evie Hudak's resignation letter; read it here.
By resigning, I am protecting these important new laws for the good of Colorado and ensure we can continue looking forward.
FOX 31's Eli Stokols breaks huge news on the day before Thanksgiving:
State Sen. Evie Hudak has decided to resign rather than risk facing a recall election that, should she lose, would flip control of the senate to Republicans, FOX31 Denver is first to report Wednesday.
Hudak is expected to make the official announcement with a press release sometime Wednesday morning.
Hudak, D-Westminster, could have been the third Democratic lawmaker to face a recall over a package of gun control bills they helped pass earlier this year…
By resigning before the signatures are turned in, she assures that a Democratic vacancy committee will appoint her replacement, keeping the seat — and the senate — in the party’s hands, at least through November, when her successor will be forced to win reelection.
We'll update with statements, reactions, and analysis of this move shortly. The possibility that Senator Evie Hudak might resign, and thwart a recall election against her was always there, and this move gives Democrats the best strategic position to hold the seat–and the Democratic Senate majority–in 2014. For Sen. Hudak personally, we can only imagine the difficulty of this decision, but it's a selfless act to save her caucus majority. Sen. Hudak's long and faithful service to causes like education and women's rights make it quite likely she will find a new home on Colorado's political scene without difficulty.
Perhaps the best defense of Hudak's decision to resign is the way the recall process has broken down into a political free-for-all, with the odds tilted against incumbents due to the odd dates and (more importantly) the suppression of mail ballots via court action. Democrats and many Republicans (here's looking at you, Ryan Call) agree that lurching from recall to recall is no way to run a functioning democracy. The constitutional provisions that make mail ballots effectively impossible date back to 1912, and only affect recalls. Everything we've heard indicates that Democrats are fully prepared to begin retaliating against vulnerable Republicans with recall campaigns of their own. Unless both sides want to trade in the way we've always elected our representatives for a war of mutually assured electoral destruction, it's time to either make recalls fair, or restrict their application in Colorado to situations that truly merit one.