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Priola faces recall effort after joining Democrats

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Derek Draplin

(The Center Square) – State Sen. Kevin Priola is facing a recall effort just days after switching his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat. 

Weld County residents Louisa Andersen and Jeff Sloan filed for the recall with the secretary of state’s office on Wednesday. Michael Fields of Advance Colorado Action, a conservative advocacy group, also filed for a “Recall Priola” issue committee with the office.

Priola currently represents Senate District 25, which covers Adams County, but due to redistricting he will represent Senate District 13, which includes parts of Weld County and Greeley.

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The effort’s backers said the recall would be in Senate District 13.

“Recalling Kevin Priola would be good for SD 13 and good for the State of Colorado,” Fields said in a statement. “His record at the Capitol has been terrible. He voted for higher fees and taxes, to take away our TABOR refund checks, for ‘safe’ injection sites, and to decriminalize fentanyl.”

“Voters in SD 13 deserve to decide who they want to represent them,” he added. “My guess is they’ll pick someone they can actually trust and who more closely reflects their views.”

Priola did not immediately return The Center Square’s request for comment.

Priola cited Republicans’ responses to the 2020 election, the Jan. 6 riot, and climate change as reasons for switching parties in a letter on Monday.

“There is too much at stake right now for Republicans to be in charge,” the senator wrote, adding, “we need Democrats in charge because our planet and our democracy depend on it.”

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Senate Minority Leader John Cooke, R-Greeley, who currently represents Senate District 13, criticized Priola’s move in a statement Monday, saying, “his new district will likely not be happy with this announcement and may explore their options for new representation.”

The Colorado GOP is supporting the recall effort, chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown said in a statement.

“Kevin Priola lied to voters and broke the trust of those who elected him,” she said. “He does not represent the views of voters in [Senate District 13]. They deserve to choose whether or not they want to be represented by a Democrat who has a record of raising taxes on working families and supporting drug injection sites.”

Backers of the effort need to collect 18,291 valid signatures to get the recall question placed on the ballot after the secretary of state’s office approves the petition.