Candidates step forward as Truden recall effort enters final stretch
Post Independent Staff
Volunteers passing petitions to recall 9th Judicial District Attorney Colleen Truden are working feverishly in the final days to get more signatures before the Sept. 16 deadline for petitions to be turned in to the Secretary of State. Recall organizer Sherry Caloia said the group has collected more than 7,000 signatures so far. A total of 5,455 valid signatures are required to force a recall election.
Caloia said volunteers will be passing petitions this weekend at the Meeker Sheep Dog Trials.
“It’s a big event. A lot people from all over go there,” she said.
Volunteers will also be in Aspen at the farmers’ market, in Snowmass at Aspen Village and near the post office in Parachute, she said.
The recall effort has also come up against a timeline that will prevent the measure from being on the upcoming Nov. 1 ballot.
“It’s going to be a separate election. There’s no way it can go on the ballot (because) the ballots are already made up,” she said.
According to Garfield County Clerk and Recorder Mildred Alsdorf, the Secretary of State has 10 business days to verify the signatures on the petition. Then anyone who wishes to protest the petition signatures has 15 days to do so.
“The earliest it could be is December,” Alsdorf said of a possible recall election.
The recall election is also different from regular elections.
According to state law, the governor actually sets the date for the recall election, since it involves three counties in the 9th Judicial District ” Garfield, Pitkin and Rio Blanco, said Dana Williams, spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s office.
The governor sets the date of the election 45 to 75 days after the petition signatures are verified, Williams said. “I’d be really surprised if there were no protests,” she said.
Alsdorf estimated the special election could cost between $40,000 and $50,000.
“Those are ballpark figures,” she said.
Each of the three counties mounts the election, and their costs will be reimbursed by the Secretary of State, Williams said. In turn, the Secretary of State will go to the state legislature for supplemental funding, Williams said, because such unanticipated elections are not budgeted. In addition, if it is defeated at the polls, the Secretary of State will reimburse Truden’s costs for fighting the recall.
“She can be reimbursed for the cost of the election if she is not recalled,” Williams said. “She can be reimbursed up to 10 cents per voter for authorized expenses, which include money spent on challenging the sufficiency of recall petition and things like campaign literature, ads and campaign headquarters.”
Former Deputy District Attorney Martin Beeson has said he will stand for election to replace Truden. He must also collect 1,000 signatures on a petition of his own that must be filed within 15 days once the secretary of state verifies the signatures.
Aspen attorney Chip McCrory has also announced he will run if the recall goes through.
“If the ayes have it, then they need to select someone from the list,” McCrory said. “I think it’s important if the recall goes through (the voters) have a choice of candidates.”
McCrory has 16 years experience as a prosecutor. He was Assistant District Attorney under Milt Blakey, who was the DA in the mid-1980s and ’90s, and who preceded Mac Myers in the 9th Judicial District.
“I’ve got a lot of experience. I won’t say Martin’s not qualified, but I have more. But I have to get a thousand signatures,” McCrory said.
He decided to run because “a lot of folks have been asking me.”
He also said he has no beef against Truden.
“I can’t say I’ve had any problems with Colleen. I only met her once.”
Truden has been the focus of the recall effort since mid-July. The embattled DA has drawn criticisms for her management style and her handling of the budget. Seven attorneys have left the DA’s office since she took over in January. Two attorneys who resigned recently, Tony Hershey and Katherine Steers, were highly critical of Truden. Truden was also criticized for hiring her husband to do contract work in the DA’s office.
Last week Truden announced the hiring of two deputy district attorneys, and one attorney intern.
Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. 510
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