Bloomberg's Money Fails to Save Colorado Gun Controllers


Office of the Mayor

Yesterday Colorado voters fired two state legislators who played important roles in the enactment of new gun controls last March. Senate President John Morse (D-Colorado Springs) was rejected by 51 percent of voters, while opponents of Sen. Angela Giron (D-Pueblo Springs) mustered 56 percent. Morse and Giron will be replaced by Republicans Bernie Herpin and George Rivera, respectively. The results are not only a warning to politicians who underestimate the political risks of supporting restrictions on Second Amendment rights but also a rebuke to campaign finance reformers who worry that rich special interests can easily buy elections. The recall campaigns, while genuinely local in their origins, attracted support from the National Rifle Association, which kicked in $362,000. But supporters of Morse and Giron, led by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, raised eight times as much. That illustrates two important points about the role of money in politics: When money talks, you cannot predict what it will say, and people do not necessarily listen. Here you have a billionaire celebrity supporting a cause that appeals to many progressives (which he has every right to do under the First Amendment!) but failing to obtain the outcome he wanted, even though his side spent much more than the other guys. Like the embarrassing defeats of wealthy candidates who lavishly fund their own campaigns, the Colorado recall votes show that the size of your megaphone cannot save you if people do not like your message.