Rep. JoAnn Windholz referred to Planned Parenthood as the “real culprit” in the shooting at a Colorado Springs clinic. Tuesday, activists will rally at the state Capitol to demand her resignation.
Backers of an effort to recall state Rep. JoAnn Windholz, the lawmaker who referred to Planned Parenthood as the “real culprit” in the Colorado Springs shooting, plan to rally Tuesday at noon on the west steps of the state Capitol to demand she step down from office.
Her remarks blaming Planned Parenthood for the murders, first reported by The Colorado Independent, earned her ire from across the nation and inspired several Coloradans to launch a recall effort against her. But they haven’t filed their petition yet. They’re asking her to step down first.
The district the Commerce City Republican lawmaker represents strongly favors Democrats. She won her House District 30 seat by a mere 106 votes in 2014. Democrats hold a 10 percent voter registration advantage over Republicans, 38 percent to 28 percent. Unaffiliated voters fall squarely in-between, at 33 percent.
To date, recall organizers have raised more than $5,500 for the effort out of a $10,000 goal. Almost all of that was raised in the first two weeks after the recall effort was announced in early December. Steve Cohn, one of the recall leaders, said they planned to donate any leftover funds to the families of the victims of the Nov. 27 shooting.
Windholz has already filed to run for re-election in the fall. Two Democrats, Dafna Michaelson Jenet and John Myers, both of Commerce City, are vying for her seat, and both have already raised more than $8,000 each for the primary race.
Campaign finance reports filed last week showed Windholz took in $3,575 in the reporting period that ended Dec. 31, 2015. That included $500 from the Adams County GOP and $400 from the Colorado Medical Society political action committee. She also received contributions from PACs for physical therapists, optometrists, independent pharmacies and several lobbyists.
But all of those donations came in before the Dec. 1 story in The Independent. Nobody donated in December, a sign that her remarks may be costing her campaign cash. She received one $50 donation on Nov. 30th and nothing since then.
Michaelson Jenet took in just under $3,300, with a $400 contribution coming from Friends of Colorado Hospitals. She also received smaller contributions from several House Democrats throughout December.
Myers took in $2,600 in the last reporting period, with $200 coming from state Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder. Smaller contributions came from State Board of Education member Jane Goff, former Jefferson County School Superintendent Cindy Stevenson and David Longanecker of the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education. Longanecker is retiring this summer and will be replaced by current Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia.
Recall backers aren’t the only ones targeting Windholz.
The powerful national group Emily’s List, which works to get prochoice women elected to office, has put Windholz on its 2016 must defeat list. So has the national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. This week, the DCCC pointed out that Windholz’s name could appear on the ballot in November just below that of Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora. The DCCC is working to bolster the campaign of state Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, who is challenging Coffman for his Sixth Congressional District seat in the fall.
A DCCC statement issued earlier this week said that Coffman “continually refuses to denounce Rep. Windholz’s vile statement blaming Planned Parenthood for the three tragic murders at their facility. The fact that they will be running together on the ballot this year puts a spotlight on the striking similarities between their attacks on women’s access to healthcare – positions that are completely out-of-touch with their swing districts.”
While he has said nothing about Windholz, Coffman did, however, express sympathy for the victims killed in the shooting – Jennifer Markovsky, Ke’Arre Stewart and Officer Garrett Swasey of the CU-Colorado Springs Police Department – as well as for the nine people injured.
“This is an unspeakable tragedy for the Colorado Springs community,” Coffman added, in a statement issued Nov. 30, which he released after returning from leading a congressional delegation to Afghanistan.
Unlike Coffman, Windholz has never offered any public expression of sympathy for the victims.