Republicans back lawmaker who called Planned Parenthood the ‘real culprit’ in the clinic shooting

Rep. JoAnn Windholz still has her party’s support in the 2016 race after she blamed Planned Parenthood for inciting the Nov. 27 rampage at a Colorado Springs clinic, referring to the health organization as the “real culprit” in the murder of three.

Adams County GOP leaders Warren Main and Gary Mikes lauded her record as a lawmaker. She is very religious and has “high morals,” Main told The Colorado Independent.

Windholz, R-Commerce City, already has filed paperwork to seek re-election and has more than $4,600 in her campaign coffers.

But she may struggle to raise more. Some of her former financial backers told The Independent they may shift their funding to her 2016 Democratic challengers, Dafna Michaelson Jenet and John Myer.

Since the national backlash to her remarks, Windholz has been silent, issuing no public apologies or even a statement of sympathy for the shooting victims. Unlike other lawmakers, she has neither held pre-session town-hall meetings nor announced her 2016 legislative agenda.

In the meantime, Democrats — some of whom met and organized on The Independent’s website — have launched a recall effort to boot her from office.

One of them, Steve Cohn, said he and fellow organizers are waiting until after the holidays to turn in paperwork to the Secretary of State, which would give them 60 days to submit the 4,714 signatures needed to trigger a recall election. They hope Windholz steps down first.

As of this writing, the recall effort has raised $5,330 of a $10,000 goal in less than two weeks. Organizers said they will donate money left over from their campaign to the families of the victims of the Planned Parenthood murders.

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which advocates for Dems in state legislatures, has released a petition asking people to comment on Windholz and her remarks. As of last week, it had more than 4,400 signatures and more than 1,400 comments, according to DLCC spokesperson Carolyn Fiddler.

The Democratic women’s group Emily’s List announced it would target Windholz because of her anti-Planned Parenthood statement and her 2015 legislative voting record in which she fought against family planning bills and in favor of anti-abortion legislation. Emily’s List has only one other main target in Colorado: Rep. Mike Coffman, who’s seeking re-election to his 6th Congressional District seat.

Photo credit: Women’s eNews, Creative Commons. Flickr

has been a political journalist since 1998. She covered the state capitol for the Silver & Gold Record from 1998 to 2009 and for The Colorado Statesman in 2010-11 and 2013-14. Since 2010 she also has covered the General Assembly for newspapers in northeastern Colorado. She was recognized with awards from the Colorado Press Association for feature writing and informational graphics for her work with the Statesman in 2012.