Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler said Tuesday that his office doesn’t have legal authority to reimburse or fund Pueblo County’s recall election in September. Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz sent a letter Monday to the governor’s and secretary of state’s offices, and to state Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver, chairman of the Joint Budget Committee, asking for advance payment for the election. State Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, is being recalled by gun-rights supporters who say she overreached in supporting gun legislation. If voters decide to recall her, George Rivera, a former Pueblo police deputy chief and Republican, will take her place in the Legislature. In his response, Gessler said: “This office does not have the legal authority to reimburse your office for the recall election in Senate District 3. Your office should, however, be able to reduce your costs by 25-40 percent based on El Paso County’s experience.”
El Paso County also has a recall election scheduled, and its expenses are estimated at $150,000.
Pueblo county, worried about its finances, estimates the recall to cost $180,000 and asked for an advance of $200,000, to cover unplanned expenses.
Ortiz said he wrote letters to the three offices because state statute is vague on who actually pays for special elections.
Statute says reimbursement comes from a “political subdivision,” the meaning of which differs between Gessler, a Republican, and Ortiz, a Democrat.