Last week, a campaign to recall State Senator Kevin Priola kicked off on heels of Priola’s announcement that he was leaving the Republican Party to join the Democratic Party. The recall petition, which focused entirely on Priola’s liberal voting record, was submitted by two Weld County residents, Louisa Andersen and Jeff Sloan.
Coloradans have a constitutional right to recall their elected officials for whatever reason they want. In this case, the petition states that Priola’s “voting record is out-of-step with the people of this District. Specifically, he supported five bills that are harmful to working families or dangerous for our community.
- He voted to increase the gas tax when gas prices are already too high. (SB21-260)
- He sponsored a bill to permanently take away our TABOR tax refund checks. (HB19-1257)
- He voted to raise property taxes, which hurts everyone, especially senior citizens. (HB21-1164)
- He voted to decriminalize fentanyl, which has led to the second highest increase in fentanyl deaths in the country. (HB19-1263)
- And he sponsored a bill to create “safe” injection sites for drug users. (SB18-040)”
All of these positions are unpopular across the state, but especially in Priola’s new district, SD 13. With the addition of part of Weld County, a large chunk of this new district never voted for Priola in the first place. It is also much more conservative than the district that elected Priola in 2020.
For years, grassroots conservatives have voiced their frustration with Priola, but some Republicans decided to vote for him if only because they knew he would vote for a Republican leader in the State Senate. Now, that’s no longer the case.
In fact, Priola’s first act as a Democrat was to endorse Jena Griswold – the most hyper-partisan elected official in the state. In his letter announcing his defection from the Republican Party, he complained that Republicans were giving “credence to election conspiracies” – while completely ignoring that Colorado Republicans just picked a whole slate of statewide candidates who are mainstream conservatives, not election deniers.
Whatever the real reason is that Priola switched parties, the focus of this recall will remain on the policy issues. The top two concerns for Coloradans right now are inflation and public safety. These two issues also happen to be the ones that Priola votes the worst on. The average family is paying $7,500 more because of inflation, and Colorado is less safe than it’s been in decades. With Colorado headed in the wrong direction, our state needs leaders who will get things back on track. Priola won’t do that.
If he remains in office, there is no doubt that he will just vote for more bad policies that hurt the people of Senate District 13. Voters deserve to decide who they want to represent them for the next two years. My guess is they’ll pick someone they can actually trust and who more closely reflects their views.