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The costs to recall State Rep. Tom Sullivan are adding up

Republicans in Sullivan's district, supported by the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners who are not in his district, are trying to oust the freshman representative.

DENVER — It seems there is no political off-season.

I mean, come on, even your favorite sport takes time off.

Residents in Centennial are still getting political mailers, social media political ads and door knocks. There is an attempt to recall State Rep. Tom Sullivan (D-Centennial), who was elected in 2018.

"I'm Tom Sullivan, I'm your state representative, I just wanted to drop this off," said Sullivan at the front door of a home near Smoky Hill Road and Piccadilly Street in Centennial.

"Wanted to come out and reintroduce myself," he said at another door.

Sullivan is spending his off-season going door-to-door to get residents to "decline to sign" recall petitions against him.

"I will get myself an education on this recall process because I will bring up legislation next year. This should not happen. They're not going to do this to me and I'm not going to allow them to do this to someone else," said Sullivan.

Supporters of the recall of Sullivan have until July 12 to collect 10,035 valid signatures of registered voters in House District 37, which covers Centennial.

RELATED: State Rep. Tom Sullivan, sponsor of red flag law, faces recall

Sullivan sponsored the red flag bill that became law this year, that would allow a court to require the sheriff's office to seize weapons from someone deemed a threat.

He also supported the bill that would change how Colorado participates in the Electoral College. The National Popular Vote bill that was signed into law, would tie Colorado's electoral votes to the Presidential candidate who receives the most votes nationwide, and not the most votes in Colorado. It would not take effect until enough states join the pact. States totaling 270 electoral votes would need to join before Colorado changes how it awards electoral votes.

Because a recall is considered an issue and not a candidate race, Sullivan cannot use any money from his candidate campaign account.

"Anything that I have in my campaign can't go towards this," said Sullivan.

Enter "Our Colorado Way of Life," the committee created to fight recalls against Democrats has already taken in $106,000 through May.

Of that money, $35,000 came from the Democratic Leadership Campaign Committee in Washington, D.C. Another $13,000 came from the Colorado Democratic Party, with an addition $9,400 for staff and office space.

Our Colorado Way of Life has spent $15,000 with Facebook, likely for political ads and boosted posts.

The groups trying to recall Sullivan haven't had to submit their financial reports yet.

Those groups include:

  • Recall Tom Sullivan
  • Recall Colorado
  • Rocky Mountain Gun Owners
  • Values First Colorado

According to Rocky Mountain Gun Owners Executive Director Dudley Brown. RMGO has spent $45,000, with $30,000 on paid petition gatherers. He said the other spending has been on staff, attorney time and radio ads. Brown said RMGO has not raised half of what they've spent.

However, when RMGO funded the recall efforts of three lawmakers in 2013, it reported $916,308 in year-end contributions, compared to $199,815 the year before.

RELATED: Cole Wist breaks with vice chair of Colorado GOP, says he does not support recall effort against Tom Sullivan

The timing of the election depends on if the recall effort collects enough signatures and when the Secretary of State's Office deems them sufficient.

If the signatures are deemed sufficient and there is no challenge, and the November 2019 election is within 90 days, then the recall election would be on the November ballot.

If the November 2019 election is more than 90 days away, then Gov. Jared Polis (D) would pick the date between 52 and 82 days after the signatures are deemed sufficient.

If that special election is held, the Arapahoe County Clerk and Recorder's Office estimates that it would cost at least $150,000.

If there is a recall election, candidates who want to be considered to replace Sullivan would have to start collecting signatures once the recall petitions are deemed sufficient.

The recall election would ask two questions. One would ask if Sullivan should be recalled. The second would give you options of candidates to replace Sullivan. Regardless of how you vote on the first question, you can vote on the second question, choosing the possible next representative.

When Sullivan goes door-to-door, he tells voters he'll be on the 2020 ballot regardless of what happens in 2019.

"I tell them, it's either going to be as the incumbent who just finished his second year down at the State Capitol, or I will be the Democratic challenger to win back the seat that was stolen from me. It's one or the other," said Sullivan.

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