In a statement, Kristi Burton Brown, vice chairwoman of the Colorado Republican Party, confirmed that the party would be pulling its recall attempt “to focus on other essential efforts.” She attacked Sullivan and Colorado Democrats as “flat out, too extreme for House District 37 and for our state.”
“Tom Sullivan’s days as a State Representative are almost over,” Burton Brown said. “2020 is the year to oust him.”
Sullivan, who lost his son in the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting and who wears his son’s leather jacket to work, has spent the past year pushing for gun control legislation. He co-sponsored a “red flag” bill, which allows judges to order the temporary seizure of firearms from people experiencing a mental health crisis. That bill was signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis (D) and will go into effect in 2020.
The Colorado Republican Party and Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, a firearms advocacy group more extreme than the National Rifle Association, together had led the effort against Sullivan. His supporters, fellow Democratic lawmakers and even former Rep. Cole Wist (R), whom Sullivan beat to win his House seat, had denounced the recall effort.
“It is unfortunate but crystal clear. RMGO owns the Colorado Republican Party,” Wist said on Twitter.
Sullivan, an Air Force veteran and former postal worker, beat Wist with 54% of the vote. He is the first Democrat to hold that seat. In an email to HuffPost earlier this month, he emphasized that the recall attempt was an effort “to undermine the will of voters.”
“When I ran for office I knocked on more than 10,000 doors and told the voters exactly what I planned to do,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan was moments from heading back out to knock on more doors when he heard the recall effort was dropped, he told KDVR.
“The Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and the Colorado GOP again underestimated the support we have from the people in my district,” he said in a statement. “I’m excited to continue talking to voters and making sure their voices are heard in the State House. I’ll always work hard to earn their votes and make sure that fringe groups can’t undermine our democracy.”
This has been updated with a statement from Sullivan.