A Democrat-backed group has filed a lawsuit against Colorado’s Secretary of State in an effort to block the recall effort against Sen. Kevin Priola, who last month announced he would cross the aisle and leave the Republican Party.
The suit, filed Monday morning in Denver County, requests a judge block the recall because it includes residents of Priola’s new district, which was redrawn last year and leans conservative. Priola was elected in 2020 by constituents in his previous district, and he won’t technically begin representing the new area until January.
Colorado Over Party, a committee filed last week to defend Priola against the recall, is one of the plaintiffs backing the suit against Jena Griswold, Colorado’s secretary of state. A spokeswoman for Griswold’s office did not immediately provide comment Monday.
Griswold’s office said last week that the recall would cover Priola’s new district, a decision that Colorado Over Party argued “deprives … electors of their right to sign or not sign the recall petition, and vote for or against Sen. Priola’s recall.” If the recall advances now and is successful, they continued, Priola’s old district could be without representation until early January, when the newly drawn map kicks in.
The suit asks a judge to halt the recall effort until the court can decide if Priola’s new district is the right setting for the recall effort or not.
Sen. Stephen Fenberg, the senate’s president, said Monday the suit makes it clear that Priola shouldn’t be recalled by Coloradans that he doesn’t yet represent. They can recall him after January, he said, an argument that the suit also makes.
Michael Fields, who runs the conservative Advance Colorado Action group, called the lawsuit “desperate” and said the recall should “take place in the district (Priola) will be representing when the recall election occurs.”
“I just think this is a losing legal argument,” he said. “Signatures are gathered in districts before they officially take effect all the time.”
Attorneys and representatives of Colorado Over Party did not immediately return a request for comment.