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Last week, we ran a story about a recall attempt against an anti-gun lawmaker who was responsible for yet another piece of worthless trash passing for gun control legislation in Colorado. The legislator in question sponsored a red flag bill, which sent up enough red flags for voters to demand a recall.
Now, it’s being reported that the effort is dividing the state Republican Party.
Word this week that conservatives will try to recall state Rep. Tom Sullivanhas divided Republicans between those who see it as politically imperative and those who view it as politically foolhardy.
At the center of that debate is Sullivan’s unusual entry into politics, which followed the death of his son, Alex, in the 2012 Aurora theater shooting. His son’s death spurred Sullivan’s political involvement and guided his gun control advocacy. It’s that advocacy which, at least in part, prompted a recall effort against the Centennial Democrat.
I’m going to say something that Sullivan’s fan club isn’t going to like.
Look, of course, I’m sorry Sullivan lost his son. I can’t imagine losing a child. More importantly, I don’t want to try.
The thing is, that doesn’t provide a shield against someone’s actions indefinitely. Sullivan has been beating the anti-gun war drum left and right since taking office. The man is an espoused opponent to our constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms.
His political origin story doesn’t change that.
We judge people based on their actions, not their intentions. It doesn’t matter if he’s legitimately trying to avert the next theater shooting in the state or not. No amount of righteous intent changes the fact that Sullivan is trying to infringe on gun rights in the Rocky Mountain state.
Now, that’s not to say there aren’t any valid criticisms of the recall effort.
Sullivan’s critics have until July 12 to collect 10,035 signatures in a district that elected him by a decent margin last year after he openly campaigned for gun control measures. Sullivan defeated Republican Rep. Cole Wist, who had also backed a red-flag gun bill, the legislation prompting the current recall effort. Wist said this week that he won’t support recall efforts and issued fiery denunciations of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and the Colorado Republican Party.
He’s not alone. Colorado Peak Politics, a conservative blog, called the effort to recall Sullivan “brutally tone deaf.” Tyler Sandberg, a Republican strategist and campaign manager for former U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, said it’s a grift meant to enrich Brown, RMGO’s director, by increasing donations to the gun rights group.
“Congrats to RMGO on ensuring that Tom Sullivan wins re-election in 2020,” Sandberg said on Twitter. “Great work taking a swing seat and making it safe for Democrats.”
A recall does little good if all the resources are spent only for Sullivan to win yet again. While my initial reaction was joy at the recall, the truth is that now I’m not so certain it’ll go the way Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, the group spearheading the effort, thinks it will.
Sullivan has never been accused of duplicity when it comes to guns, so far as I know. He’s anti-gun, and everyone knows it. That includes his constituents. It may be a swing seat, but I suspect the voters there are mostly ambivalent about guns.
That’s usually not a good recipe for a pro-gun victory over a noted gun grabber.
Of course, it’s possible they’ll be able to muster enough votes to unseat him. That may well be the gamble being undertaken. RMGO may know it can do it. If so, go for it.
If not, it’s a loss that may have ramifications on races throughout the state and, arguably, the entire nation.