New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has thrown $350,000 behind an effort to fight the recall of two Colorado Democratic legislators for their votes in favor of sweeping new gun control laws.
Campaign finance paperwork filed Tuesday and obtained by KDVR.com showed that Bloomberg wrote a personal check to Taxpayers for Responsible Democracy, the group fighting the recalls targeting Colorado Springs Senate President John Morse and Sen. Angela Giron, of Pueblo.
The National Rifle Association has contributed more than $108,600 to try to unseat the Democratic incumbents. Most of the money has gone toward radio, Internet, and cable ads, as well as billboard advertising.
But backers of Morse and Giron have given bigger donations, most notably Bloomberg's contribution.
Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns group has pushed for more restrictions on firearms in states nationwide, including Colorado. Billionaire Philanthropist Eli Broad also contributed $250,000 to the Democrats' campaigns.
“We want to thank every single one of those supporters, from Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the people who gave 5 or 10 dollars,” Jennie Peek-Dunstone of Pueblo United for Angela told KDVR.com. “They all play a role in fighting back against the ‘wave of fear’ that the recall proponents want to send across the country.”
Meanwhile, the state Supreme Court said Tuesday that voters in the two recall elections don't have to first vote "yes" or "no" on the recall to have their votes for a successor validated.
A state constitutional requirement saying voters must first vote on the recall before voting for a candidate violates rights to voting and expression under the U.S. Constitution, the Colorado high court said. The court's brief statement came in response to a question from Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.
Hickenlooper said in a filing through the state attorney general that the question is important because the Sept. 10 elections could require a recount or even be invalidated if someone raises a legal challenge afterward.
The legal filing from Hickenlooper noted that a "virtually identical provision" of California election law that required a vote on the recall before voting for a candidate was declared unconstitutional in 2003, during the recall of former Gov. Gray Davis.
Election ballots were expected to be printed Tuesday, but the decision from the state Supreme Court won't present an issue, the Colorado secretary of state's office said.
"It means that the wording will have to be changed to get rid of the requirement," said spokesman Andrew Cole, referring to the state provision that voters decide whether to approve the recall before selecting a successor candidate. "But from an operations standpoint, this is pretty simple."
The Colorado Supreme Court said it would issue a detailed written opinion later.
Both Morse and Giron supported new gun restrictions this year, including limits on the size of ammunition magazines and expanding background checks to include private and online firearm sales. No Republicans voted for the proposals.
Retired police officer George Rivera is challenging Giron, and Bernie Herpin, a former Colorado Springs councilman, is running against Morse.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.