State Sen. Evie Hudak resigned her seat Wednesday, ending a recall effort being waged against her days before gun-rights activists were to turn in petitions to try to oust the Democrat from office. In her resignation letter, Hudak said her decision would spare Jefferson County residents from having to shell out more than $200,000 for a special election, especially after the county has cut programs for seniors and mental health. She praised the gun laws Democrats passed in the 2013 session that sparked recall efforts against her and two fellow senators, Senate President John Morse of Colorado Springs and Sen. Angela Giron of Pueblo. Several Democratic lawmakers conceded that a recall election would have served as a distraction during the 2014 session for them and for Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is up for re-election. And if voters in Hudak’s district had voted to oust her and replaced her with a Republican, the GOP would have gained control of the Senate by one seat. Democrats now have only an 18-17 majority over Republicans, thanks to the successful recalls of Morse and Giron, who were replaced by Republicans. Under Colorado law, Hudak’s successor will be a member of her own party.
The names mentioned most often as possible successors are state Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp of Arvada, who unseated Republican Rep. Robert Ramirez of Westminster in 2012, and Arvada City Councilwoman Rachel Zenzinger.
“I am weighing all my options and figuring out what’s best for the district,” Kraft-Tharp said. “I’m out of town; I’m with my family. We’ll talk about it over turkey, and I’ll make a decision pretty quick.”
Hudak’s replacement would serve in the upcoming legislative session but would have to run for the seat in November 2014 to keep it.