DENVER – Juli-Andra Fuentes decided this spring to join a fledgling effort to recall Gov. Jared Polis when she heard about a controversial sex education bill being debated in the Legislature.
The bill makes nominal changes to an existing Colorado law, passed in 2013, which bans abstinence-only education in state schools. Fuentes, a resident of metro Denver, says she wasn’t following the Legislature five years ago and was unaware the bill passed. But as debates about sex education resurface and as Polis has signed into law bills addressing oil and gas reform and gun control, Fuentes is paying attention now.
“Then it just really kind of hit me: We have a platform,” Fuentes said. “This is something people care about, and we can do this.”
Fuentes is now the president and registered agent for Official Recall Gov. Jared Polis, a 6-week-old political campaign to drive Colorado’s new governor out of office. The group is one of a handful targeting Colorado Democrats for recall elections after fierce debates in the Legislature about the passage of sweeping oil and gas reform and a measure that would allow courts to seize firearms from individuals considered to be a threat.
Another petition effort is underway to put the National Popular Vote bill, which Polis signed into law March 15, on the 2020 ballot. (That bill would grant all of Colorado’s presidential electors to the winner of the national popular vote.)
As of this week, the Colorado Secretary of State’s office has approved only one recall petition – for Greeley Democrat Rep. Rochelle Galindo. But the effort to recall Polis faces the toughest odds: The recall petition cannot be submitted until July, when Polis has been in office for more than six months and must collect more than 630,000 signatures in 60 days.
For now, Fuentes gauges support for the effort from the group’s private Facebook group, which has nearly 40,000 members, the countless calls and emails she has received from around Colorado and the roughly $30,000 the group has raised. Fuentes has heard from tobacco shop owners, bail bondsmen, gun-rights activists, ranchers, developers and real estate agents – all of whom support removing the governor from office, for various reasons.
If the bid to recall Polis succeeds, a recall election would likely be held in 2020.
“We are up against people who have a lot of money and a lot of power,” Fuentes said.