Politics: Hudak in a lose-lose?


State Sen. Evie Hudak could be in a lose-lose situation, and she knows it.

The Westminster Democrat acknowledges that if organizers behind a recall effort collect enough signatures to force a special election, there is only one sure-fire way that she will remain a senator.

"The way I win is if they don't get enough signatures," she said during a recent interview with Colorado Community Media. "Other than that, I think you're right, that I'm in a lose-lose situation if they get enough signatures. People will be angry if I were to resign. People would be angry if I were to be recalled."

Hudak refused to answer affirmatively if she will run in a recall election, if things go that far.

"Obviously, people like you have forced me to contemplate," she said. "The reason I can't make a decision is because I don't know if they're going to have enough signatures. There are a lot of things in play.

"Right now, I want to remain a senator. I think I've done a good job."

Hudak was asked whether it would send a bad message if a lawmaker steps aside from office, through the mere threat of a recall — without even fighting back in an election to keep his or her seat.

"You're expressing why it's so difficult, and why I can't give you an answer right now," she said.

Organizers have until Dec. 3 to submit 18,962 valid signatures of District 19 voters to the secretary of state's office. Hudak's district includes Westminster and Arvada.

Hudak has run in tough elections before. She initially won her Senate seat in 2008 with 51 percent of the vote. Last year, Hudak was re-elected by a slim margin of 342 votes over her Republican opponent, and one where a Libertarian candidate received 6.5 percent support.

Hudak is the third Democratic lawmaker to be targeted for recall. The other two, former Senate President John Morse of Colorado Springs and Sen. Angela Giron of Pueblo, lost their races.

The group that is behind the recall effort, which calls itself Recall Hudak Too, has a laundry list of reasons why she should be recalled. Clearly, though, Hudak is being targeted over her support of gun legislation that was signed into law this year, and because she is a vulnerable Democrat whose loss in a special election could flip control in the General Assembly's upper chamber to the Republicans.

That's why there has been chatter among state politicos that Hudak could end up resigning from office, a move that would allow another Democrat to hold that important seat.

"At this time, I have no intention of resigning," she said. "I hope I won't have to make that decision."

Mike McAlpine, who is organizing the recall effort, did not respond to multiple requests for comment on this story.

Learning from recent recall efforts

Hudak and her campaign manager Chris Kennedy say they learned from what happened in Colorado Springs and Pueblo.

"I don't think we knew how serious it was and how capable these guys were," Kennedy said. He said because of that, the Hudak campaign has sent volunteers door-to-door, as well as positioning volunteers in areas where petition gatherers are attempting to collect signatures.

The actions of volunteers on both sides of the recall attempt have been the story within the recall story, as efforts on the part of some groups have stirred controversy.

The Democracy Defense Fund, A pro-Hudak group — one that the senator says she is not affiliated with — has directed robocalls that warn District 19 voters that some of the recall petition gatherers have criminal backgrounds.

"We're trying to get the message out, why it would benefit people in the community not to sign the petition," Cheryl Cheney, a Democracy Defense Fund volunteer said.

On the other side, the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners has said it will be giving away an AR-15 rifle, as part of an effort to boost petition volunteer efforts. Cheney called that effort "disgusting" because it is was the weapon of choice in the Aurora Theater and Sandy Hook elementary school mass shootings.

"We're doing whatever we can to get the signatures for recall," Danielle Thompson, a spokesperson for RMGO said. "It's not a sensitive issue because the AR-15 is the most popular rifle. That's what's going to turn people out."

All of this will go on for a few more days. In the meantime, Hudak said she appreciates the support she's been receiving through all of this.

"I am just very honored that so many people come to me and tell me that they support me and feel bad that I have to go through this," she said. "They feel like this is happening to them too, because they were my supporters and they kind of put themselves in my shoes."


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