The recall effort against Rep. Mike McLachlan (D-Durango) failed Tuesday when organizers failed to turn signatures in to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.
The recall petition, due Tuesday, required 10,586 signatures of registered voters within McLachlan’s southwestern Colorado district (House District 59) to trigger a recall election.
The recall petition was filed with the SOS office in March by a non-profit group called Colorado Accountability, with the group alleging McLachlan voted in favor of gun control measures after campaigning that he was a supporter of Second Amendment rights.
The petition also alleged McLachlan voted in favor of the measures despite overwhelming opposition to the bills from his constituency. Those bills included limitations on firearm magazines.
When the petition was filed, a Colorado Accountability spokesman said the group was aiming to collect at least 15,000 signatures, using both volunteers and paid gatherers.
Another group, Citizens for Mike McLachlan, estimated in a Tuesday press release that a recall election would have, “drawn over $150,000 from county budgets, wasting local taxpayer dollars on an ideological dispute.”
“I’m pleased that the recall didn’t get the numbers necessary to force an election,” McLachlan said Wednesday, calling it a distraction from all of the other things going on in the state legislature.
McLachlan added he felt the measures taken (which he voted for) were reasonable pubic safety measures and they were, “appropriate, legal and necessary.”
McLachlan added he did not intend to diminish gun rights, stating he believes every law-abiding citizen has a right to own guns, but he noted measures should be put in place to control guns being used by dangerous people, such as convicted felons or those with restraining orders who have a history with firearms.
“I have no desire to take away anyone’s guns,” McLachlan said.
Now that the current legislative session is over, McLachlan said he plans to hold town hall meetings throughout the district to meet with constituents to discuss a variety of topics, among them the gun-control legislation and agriculture.
McLachlan added he also hopes to continue to learn more about what constituents in the district want, stating that, while gun advocates were “riled up” by the legislation, he also received a lot of support from people telling him his votes were reasonable.
But, locals involved in the petition effort are not ceasing their work any time soon.
Ronnie Zaday, one of the organizers for the effort to gather signatures in Archuleta County, said close to 1,800 signatures were collected within the county and, while the petition was never submitted, activists will continue to keep people educated and up to date about what McLachlan says and does (“Or doesn’t do,” Zaday said).
“And look for somebody to replace him in 2014,” Zaday added.
Colorado Accountability representatives could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
McLachlan is currently serving his first term in the House.