Republican Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler has hired an attorney with ties to his old law firm to file a bold court order against Gov. John Hickenlooper in an effort to force the governor to set election dates in the recalls of two Democratic state lawmakers. In a writ of mandamus, filed in Denver District Court over the weekend by attorney Steven Klenda, Gessler asks for an “expedited/emergency hearing” because Hickenlooper, a Democrat, has “refused to perform his constitutional duty to set a date for an election to recall” of Senate President John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, and Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo. Colorado’s constitution says that an election date must come 60 days after the secretary of state’s office certifies recall petitions — which came on July 5. But Hickenlooper’s office is holding off until a Wednesday court hearing where a District Court judge will decide on a preliminary injuction that seeks to order Hickenlooper not be required to set an election date until the judicial process in the recall battle has ended.
Moreover, Hickenlooper’s office believes that the 60-day clock only starts to run after all of the appeals and protests are resolved by the courts. Hickenlooper’s office was informed by Gessler’s office of the likely court order on Friday.
An appeal filed in Denver Distict Court looks to nullify the recall election of Morse, even after Gessler’s office earlier this month certified it. As state officials in the case, Hickenlooper and Gessler are both plaintiffs and represented by the Attorney General’s office.