Colorado senator Priola can’t be recalled now, Denver judge rules


A Denver judge ordered the Secretary of State’s Office to halt the ongoing effort to recall Sen. Kevin Priola on Monday night, ruling that the campaign likely violated the constitutional rights of his constituents and handing a win to Democrats’ hopes of controlling the Senate this winter.

Denver District Judge Marie A. Moses ruled that Priola, who via redistricting will begin representing a more conservative constituency on Jan. 9, can only be recalled by the people he currently represents. She wrote that allowing his new constituents to recall him before he represents them — as the Secretary of State had ruled in September — would be an “absurd result.” Her order halts a campaign launched a month ago after Priola, a longtime moderate Republican, announced he was crossing the aisle and joining the Democratic Party.

Priola now represents District 25, an Adams County seat. His new district will be District 13, which is more conservative and includes Greeley.

Michael Fields, whose group Advance Colorado is organizing the recall, said he planned to appeal the ruling and would continue to gather signatures. A spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s Office declined to comment Tuesday and said the office was still reviewing the ruling.

The order does not shield Priola from a recall forever: His constituents to-be can recall him after the legislative session begins on Jan. 9. But given the length of time recall efforts take, it likely ensures he will last the session, bolstering the chances of Democratic control of the Senate.

“Yesterday’s ruling upholds the rule of law and the integrity of our independent redistricting process,” Priola said in a statement Tuesday, “and I am pleased the Court agreed that this special-interest driven recall effort was built on a faulty premise.”

Senate President Steve Fenberg, who sat in court with Priola during a hearing last week, also praised the decision.


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