A third Colorado state senator facing a possible recall vote tied to new gun restrictions has decided to resign from office.
State Sen. Evie Hudak, a Democrat, supported several controversial firearm restrictions passed in Colorado earlier this year. Two of her fellow Democrats in the state Senate lost their seats -- largely over their support of tightening gun restrictions -- in September recall elections: Sens. John Morse of Colorado Springs and Angela Giron of Pueblo. In a letter announcing her resignation, Hudak referred to several bills she supported in 2013, including a requirement for criminal background checks on all gun sales and a ban against magazines that can store more than 15 rounds of ammunition.*
Hudak's resignation came six days before a Dec. 3 deadline for recall organizers to submit more than 18,900 recall petition signatures to the Colorado Secretary of State's Office.
“By resigning I am protecting these important new laws for the good of Colorado and ensuring that we can continue looking forward,” she wrote.
With Hudak’s resignation, Democrats maintain a narrow 18-17 majority in the state Senate. A vacancy committee will appoint another Democrat to her seat until a general election in November 2014. “The fate of the leadership of the entire Senate was at stake,” says Kelly Maher, a Republican strategist in Colorado. “In Evie’s choosing to resign, she avoids a recall and ensures that the seat remains in Democrat hands at least until next November.” Hudak was in the first year of her second four-year term in the Senate. She won re-election in 2012 by a narrow margin -- fewer than 600 votes.
*This story has been updated to reflect that Hudak was in the first year of her second term and that the Colorado gun law limited magazines to 15 rounds.