Melanie Eversley, USA TODAY
The Colorado state senate president who faced a backlash after casting votes for gun control has conceded in a race to recall him from office, and the Associated Press says a second state lawmaker who cast the same votes has lost her recall vote.
With one of two counties completely tallied, 50.96% of voters cast ballots to remove state Sen. John Morse, a Democrat, from office and 49.04% cast ballots to keep him, according to the Colorado Secretary of State.
"We as the Democratic Party will continue to fight," the Denver Post quoted Morse as saying. "The highest rank in democracy is citizen, not senate president, so soon, along with many of you, I will hold that rank and there's nothing citizens can't accomplish when they put their minds to accomplishing it."
Republican Bernie Herpin won 100% of the ballots cast for a successor to fill Morse's seat.
Morse is one of two state lawmakers who faced potential recall after voting to require universal background checks for gun purchases and ban large-capacity ammunition magazines.
The Associated Press also called a recall for state Sen. Angela Giron, another Democrat who cast the same vote as Morse regarding firearms.
Republican George Rivera won 100% of the votes cast to replace the legislator.
Giron represents the Pueblo area while Morse's constituents are from the Colorado Springs region.The heated race pitted gun-control supporters against advocates for gun ownership, and attracted heavy hitters such as the National Rifle Association and former U.S. representative Gabrielle Giffords, severely injured in a 2011 gun massacre in Tucson.
The race attracted millions of dollars in support from either side. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who helps lead a mayor's group against gun violence, contributed $350,000 into the election, while the National Rifle Association expected to spend $500,000 on mailings, phone banks and TV ads.
Kurt Bardella, a communications consultant for the recall, said in an e-mailed statement, "The people of Colorado have made history tonight sending a loud and clear message that will reverberate through out the county and alter the terrain of the gun-control debate."
Earlier, Morse appeared to be taking a cautious stand in comments he made to the Denver Post.
"Our turnout is well below what we expected," Morse said. "Certainly, low turnout is worse for me than high turnout."