MONDAY UPDATE: The Colorado Independent updates their story as recall successor candidate Bernie Herpin pushes back on allegations he was a supporter of the “Personhood” abortion ban:
Herpin didn’t answer calls Thursday from the Independent seeking comment. But subsequent to publication, his campaign told the Independent that, although he is pro-life, there is “no evidence” that he has ever supported the personhood movement and that, in fact, Herpin does not support personhood and has never signed a personhood petition.
The Colorado Independent's Tessa Cheek reports today on a new mailer hitting Senate District 11 mailboxes this weekend, attacking Colorado Senate President John Morse's de facto GOP recall opponent Bernie Herpin. A similar mailer is reportedly on the way to residents of Senate District 3, where Democratic Sen. Angela Giron faces a recall challenge led by Republican George Rivera:
The Herpin mailer refers to his support as city council member of the “personhood” movement, which seeks to outlaw abortion by granting full legal rights to fertilized human eggs, or “life from the moment of conception,” as supporters put it. Analysts have said personhood would amount to sweeping changes in the law, where countless statutes would have to be reworked and legal interpretations extended broadly and perhaps to absurd ends, where not only birth control would be outlawed but also where activities like drinking, smoking and raw-cheese eating, for example, could turn pregnant women into suspects or criminals.
Groups have tried and failed three times in recent years to pass a constitutional amendment to make personhood the law in Colorado. Voters in conservative Mississippi also solidly rejected a personhood proposal in 2011…
Republican George Rivera, a longtime Pueblo police officer who retired as a deputy chief, brushed off the mailers Friday on Twitter, calling them “desperate” and a “shell game” being played by Giron.
“I make no apologies for my belief in the sanctity of life,” he wrote.
But Rivera takes a hardline stance on the abortion debate, even for a conservative, and reproductive rights are sure to be one of the issues that will concern voters in Pueblo.
The recall attempts now underway against Sens. Morse and Giron began as a response to the passage of landmark gun safety bills in the Colorado legislature this year. Gun rights groups, grassroots and not so much, did the early organizing. But over time, the recalls have evolved into a much more generalized conflict between conservative and liberal political establishments in Colorado. This is particularly evident from the prominent role played by a group "advised" by Bob Beauprez and Mark Hillman in the Morse recall, not to mention Jeff Crank's Americans for Prosperity organization supplying professional staff to those "grassroots groups"–see Kerns, Jennifer–and lavish paid media support. After years of losing elections, these recalls have come to symbolize Colorado Republican hopes to springboard back into majority power.
It's important to remember that recall organizers themselves have freely expanded the scope of allegations against the targeted Senators to include the whole smorgasbord of Republican pet issues, from hating on renewable energy to civil unions–when it suited them. So nobody can accuse recall opponents of anything inappropriate by using a broader range of issues against the successor candidates now.
Bottom line: the more the recall debate veers away from the single issue of gun rights, the less likely the recalls are to succeed. Voters in both swing SD-11 and heavily Democratic SD-3 trend ambivalent at best, to strongly opposed to Herpin and Rivera's positions on just about every issue. Single-issue backlash from gun rights supporters aside, SD-3 is a Democratic stronghold, and SD-11 after reapportionment is more defensible by Democrats than the 2010 election's close result suggests. The fact is, any transpartisan appeal that recall supporters claim to have with opposition to the gun bills has a point of diminishing return–and it's these other issues, issues Democrats know very well how to use against Republicans politically, that will tip swing voters in these districts toward a "no."