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Politics and Government

Second effort to recall Gov. Jared Polis in as many years fails after group doesn’t turn in signatures

The Colorado Secretary of State's Office says it received no signatures from Recall Polis 2020 by 5 p.m. on Friday, the deadline

Gov. Jared Polis speaks to reporters at the Colorado Convention Center on Friday, April 10, 2020. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)
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The long-shot bid to recall Gov. Jared Polis, the second in as many years, has fizzled after organizers didn’t turn in signatures that were due Friday to force a special election to oust the Democrat.

Recall Polis 2020 needed to collect 631,266 signatures in 60 days to force a recall election. The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office says it received no signatures by 5 p.m. on Friday, the deadline.

The group raised little money and its efforts received no backing from big-name political leaders in Colorado, making its unlikely bid even more so. No group in Colorado has ever amassed the number of signatures that were needed to recall Polis.

In a message on a private Facebook page, the organizers behind the Polis recall said they were asking for an extension to gather more signatures because of the coronavirus crisis, but didn’t say who was being asked for an extension.

Organizer Lori Ann Cutunilli didn’t respond to questions from group members about how many signatures were gathered. Cutunilli didn’t respond to phone calls or text messages from The Colorado Sun, though since Thursday afternoon she had been saying the group would be issuing a news release.

Cutunilli declined to say what the contents of the news release would be, and it had not been received by The Sun by 5 p.m. on Friday.

The 60-day deadline for signature gathering is specified in the state Constitution. Any request for an extension would have to be granted by the courts, Betsy Hart, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Jena Griswold, said in an email.

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Because of stay-at-home restrictions at the time, a Denver District Court judge last spring extended the deadline for an abortion ban initiative to gather signatures. That group turned in its signatures on time and was given time to gather more signatures because it was only about 10,000 short.

The attempted recall was driven by allegations that Polis has overstepped his authority during the coronavirus crisis by imposing restrictions on people’s movement to try to slow the spread of the disease.

A spokeswoman for Polis declined to comment on Friday.

While Polis dismissed the recall attempt, polling has shown that his favorability numbers have taken a hit in recent weeks.

Gov. Jared Polis speaks to reporters at a news conference on Oct. 13, 2020. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

The restrictions imposed by the Polis administration in regard to the coronavirus pandemic appear to be galvanizing opposition to the governor.

In a poll from Keating Research in October, the portion of voters who look at Polis favorably fell nearly 10 points compared with a poll in May, soon after the governor lifted his statewide lockdown mandate.

The governor’s favorability in October stood at 57%, with 38% viewing him unfavorably. Republican opposition drove the numbers downward, Keating Research said.

Staff writer John Frank contributed to this report.

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