Morse recall succeeds
Herpin, former City Councilmember, takes over SD-11 seat
Defeated for City Council re-election last spring, Bernie Herpin now represents Senate District 11 after John Morse was recalled from office in voting that concluded Sept. 10.
Morse, the State Senate president who had been elected to office in 2006 and re-elected in 2010, came up about 300 votes short in a bid to retain his seat.
With close to 18,000 votes cast, the final results remain unofficial until the County Clerk's Office deadline passes for receiving military and overseas ballots (which must be sent no later than election day and arrive no later than eight days afterward).
Herpin, a Republican, was the only “Successor Candidate” name on the ballot. Voters could mark in two places - indicating yes or no on the recall or checking beside Herpin's name (or writing in another candidate). With the recall passing, Herpin takes office.
“I'm extremely honored to be in this position,” he said in an interview after the voting. “It was only through hard work from a lot of volunteers that we even had this election.”
The main issue in the recall was gun rights. With the help of Morse's Senate leadership, the Democrat-controlled Colorado Legislature last session passed several laws restricting gun rights, including limiting the size of magazine clips and increasing government control over gun sales and transfers. Morse has repeatedly referred to these new laws as “common sense” legislation, while recall-backers insist they are unconstitutional and that opponents were given virtually no opportunity to argue their case when the Legislature was considering the matter.
Herpin, who had helped found the Pikes Peak Firearms Coalition, told the Westside Pioneer he will push to “roll back” those laws. “Folks in District 11 didn't like it that Morse appeared to be listening more to people like [New York Mayor Michael] Bloomberg and [Vice President Joe] Biden, and taking away our rights and not listening to us,” Herpin said.
In conceding, Morse expressed defiance in a TV interview, telling a KKTV reporter, “We'll fight another day. They [his opponents] may have won the battle but they're not going to win the war.”
Herpin said he also will try to terminate another Morse-led law, mandating a higher percentage of renewable energy use, which critics have charged will mean higher rates for most electric cooperatives.
A new law Herpin has pledged to co-sponsor is what's known as Jessica's Law, a mandate approved in most states that increases the penalties for people who molest children. The Legislature did not support that in the last session.
Also on Herpin's Senate to-do list is taking action that will help bring jobs to Colorado. Conceptually at least, that puts him in agreement with Democrat Gover-nor John Hickenlooper, who Herpin said had called him after the vote.
“I'm going to work hard,” said Herpin, who served on City Council in 2006 and from '09 to '13. “Hopefully, I can accomplish something.”
One obstacle for the new senator is that even with his taking office - along with Republican George Rivera in a simultaneous recall of Democrat Angela Giron in Pueblo - Democrats still control the State Senate by an 18-17 margin.
Herpin's term in office will continue until the end of 2014. The next election for Senate District 11 will be in November of that year.
Westside Pioneer article