How a Recall Election in Colorado Could Impact Gun Control Support in Illinois

How a Recall Election in Colorado Could Impact Gun Control Support in Illinois

Recall of Democrat in 'safe' seat over gun control shows power of issue with the electorate.
ANALYSIS -- The recall of two Democratic state representatives in Colorado for their support of gun restrictions should serve as a cautionary tale for Democrats in Illinois.  It shows how passion over gun rights can and do cut across party lines.

Colorado Senate President John Morse and State Senator Angela Giron, both Democrats,  were both recalled by voters in special elections.  Those recall efforts began with grassroots campaigns after they supported gun control legislation, but quickly escalated into races which gained national attention and money on both sides of the debate.

Giron's defeat was especially stunning.  She represented a district considered so Democratic, the 'Denver Post' wondered openly whether it had ever been represented by a Republican before.

Morse and Giron both supported legislation that passed the Democratically controlled state legislature and was signed by a Democratic Governor.  It strengthens background checks and limits gun clips, similar to legislation being pushed by Governor Pat Quinn in Illinois. 

Colorado was the scene of both the Columbine High School and Aurora Movie Theater shooting massacres, and so the issue of gun control has especially high resonance in the state.  Even so, some Democrats joined with Republicans there to publicly oppose stronger gun control measures which passed the legislature.

Even the state's Democratic Governor, John Hickenlooper, has suffered politically for his support of gun control.  Once considered so popular, he was included in the conversation over a possible Presidential candidacy in 2016, recent polls indicate he would now have difficulty getting re-elected.

Illinois is not all that much different politically from Colorado.  It is Democratically controlled, and there is a strong coalition of liberals in the Chicago-area who strongly support more restrictive gun laws.  Support of gun control legislation helped Rep. Robin Kelly win a special election for the seat of disgraced Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.  Opposition to gun control grows, however, the further you get from Chicagoland.

Giron's recall sends a message to Democrats in Illinois and nationwide that even if you believe you are in a 'safe' district, the issue of gun rights can turn typically loyal Democratic voters against you.  It's a cautionary tale for any downstate legislator thinking of supporting Gov. Quinn's gun control agenda.
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