Top 5 This Week

Related Posts

Colorado Republicans, facing power gap, will try to impeach — or recall — Jena Griswold over Trump ballot case

Colorado’s super-minority House Republicans are set to launch a largely symbolic impeachment attempt against Secretary of State Jena Griswold in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling keeping former President Donald Trump on the state’s primary ballot.

The bid, announced Thursday, came just days after the state GOP’s leader and U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert threatened to pursue a recall campaign against the Democratic official. Griswold had urged the Supreme Court to uphold a ruling by Colorado’s high court finding Trump ineligible to run under the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause.

Neither option would have much chance of success as Republicans castigate Griswold for her role in the case and her wider criticism of Trump. House Republicans on Thursday morning made their impeachment attempt public by releasing a letter to House Speaker Julie McCluskie, a Democrat, in which the caucus accused Griswold, who’s in the second year of her second term, of lacking “professionalism and integrity” for supporting Trump’s removal from the ballot.

“Since being elected, the Secretary of State has used her position as a platform for her partisan political ideology and has proven herself unfit for this elected position,” wrote Rep. Ryan Armagost, a Berthoud Republican who authored the letter. It was signed by all but two members of the House Republican caucus.

An impeachment of a state official requires a vote first by a House committee and then support from a majority of the chamber. It then would move to the Senate for a formal trial.

Republicans are vastly outnumbered in the House, where Democrats hold a 46-19 majority — meaning the impeachment will almost certainly fail. Armagost said he knew the impeachment “isn’t going to go anywhere” but that Republican officials wanted to respond to Griswold’s involvement in the Trump case.

Griswold was a defendant in the initial lawsuit, given her role in elections. While voicing criticism of Trump, she maintained a neutral position as the case worked its way through state courts. In December, the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruled 4-3 that Trump should be removed from the Republican presidential primary ballot based on his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

But Griswold later urged the U.S. Supreme Court in a brief to uphold that decision.

Two years ago, Colorado House Republicans voted to thank the Jan. 6 crowd and to baselessly “call into question” President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.

In a statement Thursday morning, Griswold accused Republicans of launching a “baseless proceeding” and of focusing on “conspiracies and political games.”

“While the Republican House Caucus wastes taxpayer dollars to score cheap political points, you can find me working for Colorado voters — Republican, Democratic, and Unaffiliated alike — to ensure they can make their voices heard in free and fair election,” she wrote.

While the court ruling triggered the impeachment, Republicans’ desire to impeach Griswold also stems from the secretary’s previous statements criticizing Trump and Republicans. Armagost said Thursday that “the language that the secretary of state uses on her social media and otherwise publicly, in press releases and everything, that is just biased” undercuts broader public trust in Colorado elections.

The Colorado Republican Party is led by Dave Williams, a former lawmaker who’s repeatedly cast doubt on the 2020 election results and has backed fellow conspiracist Tina Peters, the indicted Mesa County clerk.

Williams joined with Boebert and other state party officials Monday, following the Supreme Court ruling, in signing a public letter to Griswold. It said they would “begin the process of holding you accountable for your attack on our elections and the voting rights of millions of Coloradans,” mentioning a potential formal recall campaign.

That effort also faces long odds: It would require more than 600,000 signatures and millions of dollars to organize. Griswold won reelection in 2022 with a 13-percentage-point margin over her Republican challenger.

State House Republicans’ letter to McCluskie, delivered to the speaker Wednesday night, called on her to immediately introduce the impeachment resolution.

Minority Leader Rose Pugliese had said lawmakers were “split” on the resolution, but she said Thursday that momentum picked up over the previous 24 hours. Seventeen of the House’s 19 Republicans signed on to the letter to McCluskie. The two legislators absent — Reps. Rod Bockenfeld and Stephanie Luck — have both been working remotely for health reasons.

The letter was leaked to Colorado Politics, which first detailed the impeachment effort Thursday morning.

House Republicans also had considered, but did not advance, a resolution to impeach the state Supreme Court over its Trump eligibility ruling.

In a statement, McCluskie called the resolution “an unwarranted waste of time” and accused House Republicans of bowing “to the most extreme fringes of their party simply because the Secretary of the State did her job.”

“Donald Trump is the problem, not the secretary,” McCluskie wrote. “But instead of dealing with extremists in their ranks, they’re defending Trump and attacking his opponents.”

Stay up-to-date with Colorado Politics by signing up for our weekly newsletter, The Spot.

Popular Articles