Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley officially entered the 2014 race for state governor, seeking to reassure voters she had learned from her loss to Republican Scott Brown in a 2010 US Senate race.
Ms. Coakley is kicking off her campaign with an aggressive three-day bus tour of 18 cities and towns across the state.
“I’ve acknowledged that we made some mistakes on that campaign trail, and I’ve learned from that,” Coakley told supporters Monday.
Coakley fell from favor in Democratic Party ranks after she lost the Senate seat that Edward Kennedy occupied for 47 years, which subsequently cost the Democrats their 60-seat supermajority in Congress. After the January 2010 loss, Coakley was easily reelected to a second term as state attorney general later that year, but her victory was still overshadowed by her upset loss to Mr. Brown.
In an odd way, Coakley's jarring Senate upset might actually work to her advantage: Coakley has already proved she has the ability to bounce back, says Jim Spencer, president of The Campaign Network, a Democratic political consulting firm, in an interview with the Monitor. "Candidates never learn anything from winning, they learn from losing," explains Mr. Spencer. (The Campaign Network has not come out in support of any of the 2014 gubernatorial candidates).
"When you suffer the kind of loss that Martha did, you really have learned what kinds of mistakes not to make again," says Spencer. "She may be beginning as the most savvy, experienced candidate in the entire field."
There are currently five other contenders for the Democratic nomination: State treasurer Steven Grossman, former Obama administration health-care official Donald Berwick, former federal and state homeland security official Juliette Kayyem, biotech executive and former Wellesley selectman Joseph Avellone, and state Sen. Dan Wolf, who suspended his campaign pending discussions with the state Ethics Commission over a conflict of interest issue concerning his ownership stake in Cape Air.
Louis DiNatale, a Democratic strategist and pollster, is more skeptical of how Coakley will be received by Democratic leadership.
“Even though she dominates in the surveys, the Democratic activists remain concerned about her ability to perform as a candidate in the long run,’’ Mr. DiNatale told the Boston Globe. “They understand she could unravel at any moment in a tough general election race.’’
But Coakley's 2010 Senate failure was also symptomatic of an electorate that was growing increasingly frustrated with plodding economic recovery, says Peter Ubertaccio, director of the Martin Institute at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass. "One of the lessons they will have learned is you have to work for it: You can't just dial it in," says Mr. Ubertaccio.
And Coakley's campaign is trying to make up for this past mistake. The candidate's video advertisement she used to kick off the campaign talks about the economy, jobs, education reform, and her 2010 loss.
"She's in a very good position," says Ubertaccio, adding that Coakley has name recognition, experience with statewide elections, and a proven ability to raise money.
There are concerns that Coakley's 2010 loss will make donors hesitant to invest in another campaign. Coakley's campaign reported an account balance of just under $275,000 in a filing made to the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance, the Associate Press reported. In contrast, Mr. Grossman, a former Democratic National Committee chair, has about $628,000 in campaign funds.
However, the Coakley campaign can also anticipate financial backing from Democratic women activists and fundraisers. The Washington, D.C.-based Emily's List, whose mission is to elect pro-choice Democratic women to public office, is also expected to contribute to Coakley's campaign.
The other female Democrat in the running for governor is Ms. Kayyem, who lacks the name recognition and political experience that Coakley has.
Coakley is also leading in preliminary polls: In a way, the power of name recognition – no matter the reasons behind it – could work to her advantage. Pollster David Paleologos found that Coakley fared better against the likely GOP nominee, Charles Baker, during a statewide survey of 500 voters, which was taken this summer before Coakley had officially announced her candidacy. The survey showed Coakley earned a 56 percent favorability rating, statistically tied with Brown and Gov. Deval Patrick (D), who are the two most popular politicians in Massachusetts.
If Coakley can keep up her early momentum in the race through the February Democratic caucus, a barometer of grassroots strength, "then I think she can put to bed any lingering doubts about her ability as a candidate," says Ubertaccio.
In the next three days, Coakley is expected to stop in Brockton, Attleboro, Fall River, New Bedford, Barnstable, Newton, Framingham, Worcester, Springfield, Pittsfield, North Adams, Boston, Lowell, Lawrence, Newburyport, Gloucester, and several other locations, according to the Boston Globe.
Democratic candidates began posturing for the gubernatorial nomination after Governor Patrick announced that he would not seek reelection in 2014.
Currently, there is only one Republican candidate: Mr. Baker, who also ran for Massachusetts governor in 2010. Patrick defeated Baker by six percentage points in the 2010 election.
Former Senator Brown, who later lost his seat to Democrat Elizabeth Warren, will not run for governor, reported the Associated Press.
The Massachusetts Democratic primary is scheduled for Sept. 14 , 2014, and the election is Nov. 4, 2014.
UPDATE 5 p.m.
The Navy says a gunman who opened fire inside a building at the Washington Navy Yard was a full-time reservist from 2007 to 2011, says the Associated Press. The Navy said in a release Monday that 34-year-old Aaron Alexis, of Texas, left the Navy on Jan. 31, 2011, as a petty officer 3rd class. It's not immediately clear why he left.
Alexis had been working for the fleet logistics support squadron No. 46, in Fort Worth, Texas. The Navy says his home of record was New York City. Alexis was one of 13 people killed during the rampage.
The shooting Monday morning at the Washington Navy Yard left at least 12 people dead, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said, and authorities said one gunman is dead and police are looking for two more possible gunmen.
District of Columbia Police Chief Cathy Lanier confirmed Monday that one shooter is dead, but said there are two additional gunmen that witnesses report seeing who have not been located.
“The big concern for us right now is that we have potentially two other shooters that we have not located at this point,” Ms. Lanier said.
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Lanier described one of the suspects as a white male, last seen at 8:35 or 8:40 a.m. in a khaki or tan military-style outfit with a handgun. She described the other suspect as a black male in an olive military outfit and with a “long gun.” She described both men as appearing to be between 40 and 50 years old.
Police do not know if the possible gunmen are members of the military, but only that they are wearing military-style apparel, Lanier said. She urged anyone with information to call 1-202-727-9099, or 1-800-CALLFBI.
The number of injuries at the Navy Yard is still unclear. At a 2 p.m. press conference Mayor Gray said there a "few" people with non-life-threatening injuries. Earlier, he said, “As far as we know, this is an isolated incident.”
One of the wounded is a D.C. police officer, who was shot during an encounter with one of the shooters, according to Ms. Lanier.
Janis Orlowski, Chief Medical Officer at the Washington Hospital Center said they’ve received three wounded, including a police officer and two female civilian employees. The three are in critical condition, but are conscious and talking, she said. They are expected to recover, and are not talking about the incident, she said.
Ms. Orlowski said that she was told to expect more injured patients.
President Obama commented on the shooting at a previously scheduled press conference on the US economy: “We still don’t know all the facts,” he said. "We do know several people have been shot and some have been killed. We’re confirming another mass shooter and today it happened at a military installation in our nation’s capital.
Obama said the attack targeted both civilians and military personnel.
“We’ll do everything in our power to ensure whoever carried out this cowardly act is held responsible,” he said.
The scene is still an active investigation. The FBI is the lead agency on the investigation, and is working with D.C. Metro Police and the Naval Criminal Investigative Services, according to a Navy statement.
"I'm deeply shocked and saddened by the shooting this morning at the Navy Yard," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. I have complete confidence in our first responders, and I continue to be completely focused on this very difficult situation."
Employees were ordered to “shelter-in-place” on the scene. No other navy installations have been ordered for a lockdown, a Navy spokesperson told the Washington Post.
The Washington D.C. Police Department arranged for family members and Navy shipyard workers to reunite at the Washington Nationals Stadium Parking Lot B, which is about a mile away from the yard.
The shooter fired three shots at 8:20 a.m. inside the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters building at the Washington Navy Yard, the Navy said.
The Navy confirmed one injury in its first press release at 8:53 a.m.
At 9:42 a.m. the Navy reported several people were injured in the shooting, but did not release a specific count.
About 3,000 people work at the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters (NAVSEA), which accounts for one quarter of the Navy’s budget. NAVSEA is the largest of the Navy’s five system commands and is responsible for engineering, building, buying, and maintaining the Navy’s ships, submarines, and combat systems, according to a Navy statement.
In total, NAVSEA employs over 50,000 civilian, military, and contract support personnel in 34 locations across the United States and Asia, according to their website.
The Washington Navy Yard, where NAVSEA headquarters is located, is the Navy’s oldest shore establishment, according to the Naval History and Heritage Command. Established in 1799, the Navy Yard is now a ceremonial and administrative center for the Navy.
The Navy Yard is a secure military facility, with guards at gates and a large wall surrounding the building, according to The New York Times. It's located in southeastern DC, about 1-1/2 miles away from the Capitol building and 3-1/2 miles from the White House.
The US Capitol Police heightened security as a precautionary measure, according to the Washington Post.
Flights at Reagan International Airport were briefly grounded, and six DC public schools, four charter schools, and one administrative building were put on lockdown in response to the shooting.
The Pentagon is also increasing its security “as a proactive, precautionary measure,” spokesman George Little said in a statement.
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It continued to rain in Colorado Sunday, sending more water rushing down already-swollen streams, threatening more homes and business, and making search and rescue efforts difficult. Officials say some rivers could continue to flood until Tuesday.
Four people are confirmed dead and two more are presumed lost after their homes washed away.
Hundreds more were unaccounted for, although that number was expect to drop as telephone service was restored.
Flash flood warnings were in place in all or portions of the following counties: Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield and Denver, reports the Denver Post. All of northeast Colorado remains under a flood warning.
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"The situation has deteriorated since early this morning," Andrew Barth, spokesman for Boulder County Emergency Management, told the newspaper. "There's a heavy, heavy fog and rain is coming down hard. Standing water is rising because the ground is saturated."
On Sunday, fog grounded the helicopters that had evacuated about 1,500 people Saturday.
"Residents should prepare to evacuate for what may be an extended period of time, as road and infrastructure repairs could take several months," according to a news release from officials in the community of Estes Park, the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. "Residents must understand that with winter weather impending, staying at home in this area is an extremely dangerous decision and emergency services will not be available to them after evacuation.
Boulder remained a refuge for evacuees from the more isolated mountain towns. These refugees filled a church, a YMCA and a high school and crashed on couches around town. Meanwhile, water continued to back up in some parts of town and a water treatment plant remained down Sunday.
But the town was bouncing back. Libraries and recreation centers have reopened, and classes at the University of Colorado are expected to resume Monday.
President Obama has declared a major disaster in Colorado, authorizing Federal funds for flood victims.
Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster, according to a White House statement. Federal funding also is available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work in Boulder County.
Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate will travel to Colorado Monday to help coordinate a federal response.
Three federal urban search and rescue teams are on the ground to support search and rescue operations in flooded and isolated areas, the White House reported Sunday. Two additional federal urban search and rescue teams were expected to arrive in Colorado Sunday afternoon, and three more federal urban search and rescue teams have been placed on alert.
Meanwhile, in the neighboring state of New Mexico, another round of rain moved across the state on Sunday, renewing the threat of heavy runoff from already saturated soils and flooding in low areas as residents faced a major cleanup effort from damage left in the wake of days of relentless rain.
The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for much of central and northern New Mexico. The flooding killed at least one person – a man whose car was washed into a ravine and carried nearly a mile from the road.
This report includes material from the Associated Press.
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Reversing course, California Gov. Jerry Brown said early Friday he would sign a bill into law that allows illegal immigrants to obtain a state driver’s license.
After last-minute changes to Assembly Bill 60 (AB-60), the California Senate and Assembly voted to pass the bill late Thursday night.
“This bill will enable millions of people to get to work safely and legally,” Governor Brown said in a statement issued after midnight following the passage of AB-60. “Hopefully it will send a message to Washington that immigration reform is long past due."
California has the largest immigrant population in the United States, and a recent study from the University of California's Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration estimates that about 7 percent of California residents – more than 2.6 million people – are in the country illegally.
Nine states and the District of Columbia currently issue illegal immigrants driver's licenses. Federal law requires that the licenses clearly indicate that the driver is undocumented.
Under AB-60, the licenses would have the initials DP (driver's privilege), rather than DL (driver's license), and would state that the document "does not establish eligibility for employment or public benefit." California's Department of Motor Vehicles will determine what type of documentation will be required to obtain a driver's license.
Some undocumented residents are already eligible for licenses under California state law, if they qualify for temporary federal work permits.
The original bill as proposed by Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D) of Watsonville would have granted licenses to immigrants who could prove they paid taxes or worked in the United States. However, Mr. Alejo conceded this point late Thursday, reassuring Brown that California would adhere to federal procedures for granting licenses to illegal immigrants and subsequently winning the governor's backing.
Brown's support helped propel the bill through the California Legislature.
"In a perfect world we would have no mark on our driver's license," said California Sen. Ricardo Lara (D) of Bell Gardens as reported in the LA Times. But, he added, "there are hardworking immigrants who need driver's licenses to do the basic things many of us take for granted."
A bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to become lawyers also made it through the California legislature on Thursday.
Earlier in the week, Republican Sen. Anthony Cannella, another of the AB-60's supporters in the California Senate, called on Republicans in Congress to pass broader immigration reform, Reuters reported. A group of 16 California Republican state senators joined a national push to demand a path to citizenship in the United States for illegal immigrants.
A landmark plan for immigration overhaul passed through the US Senate in June, but will face extreme difficulty getting through Congress. The legislation would create a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.
Three friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of impeding the federal investigation into the bombing which killed three people and injured 264 in April.
According to the indictment filed Aug. 29, the three 19-year-olds, Dias Kadyrbayev, Azamat Tazhayakov, and Robel Phillipos, school friends of Tsarnaev's at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, all helped remove a backpack containing fireworks and a laptop from Tsarnaev's dorm room, after he texted Kadyrbayev a request to "go to my room and take what's there."
Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov were roommates who allegedly decided together to pitch the objects into a dumpster, and then watched its contents disappear into a garbage truck the next morning. According to the Boston Herald, both face up to 25 years in prison or deportation to their native Khazakstan, for destroying evidence in order to hinder the FBI's investigation. Phillipos, an American, faces up to sixteen years in prison for two counts of lying to investigators.
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Prosecutors told AP that they planned to present about 20 witnesses in a trial that could take two weeks. A trial date has not been set.
Meanwhile, the in-laws of Tsarnaev's late brother Tamerlan, who died in a police shootout after the bombing, answered questions Thursday before a grand jury in Boston. The lawyer representing the family of Katherine Russell, Tamerlan Tsarnaev's widow, declined to tell CNN about the hearing.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who could face the death penalty, continues to await trial.
Evacuations were ordered across Colorado after heavy rain pounded the state throughout Thursday evening and was expected to continue in patches throughout the day Friday. Water levels continued to rise, leading to flooding of "biblical" proportions, according to the National Weather Service.
The deluge extended from the eastern Rockies west to Sterling and reached south toward Colorado Springs. The hardest hit area was in and around Boulder, though flash flood warnings are still in place in central, north central and northeast Colorado.
"There's so much water coming out of the canyon, it has to go somewhere, and unfortunately it's coming into the city," said Ashlee Herring, spokeswoman for the Boulder office of Emergency Management, referring to the Boulder Canyon.
President Obama declared an emergency in Boulder, El Paso, and Larimer counties late Thursday evening that will allow for federal aid, and permit the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster relief efforts.
The Colorado National Guard began evacuating over 4,000 residents along Boulder Creek in Boulder County. The Guard has been using high-clearance trucks to transport residents, according to the Boulder County Sheriff's office.
But the heavy rain has stymied movement.
"We are all pretty much locked in Boulder right now," said Gabrielle Boerkircher, a county spokeswoman. "The main concern is keeping people off the roads. They need to stay safe at home." Regular-sized vehicles can easily be washed away, or tip over in the flood waters.
Over 11 inches of rain had fallen in Boulder from Monday through Thursday evenings, and the city saw more than seven inches of rain in 24 hours, shattering the town's 95-year record for rainfall. The overflow of Boulder Creek, which runs through the city's center, has blocked off thoroughfares in Boulder.
"There's no way out of town. There's no way into town. So, basically, now we're just on an island," Jason Stillman told weather.com. Mr. Stillman and his fiancee were forced to evacuate their home in Lyons at about 3 a.m. Friday after a nearby river began to overflow into the street.
Official reports said that there were mudslides at the mouth of Boulder Canyon due to the saturation from consecutive days of heavy rainfall.
The state's long history of wildfires makes it more susceptible to flooding: scorched earth absorbs water more slowly and holds less, meaning more water from heavy rains is converted into runoff, which converges and produces floods. However, it is unprecedented for Colorado to be hit with such a steady onslaught of rain so late in the year. These "monsoon"-style rains usually occur in late July and August, but are typically brief events that provide the normally dry state with a quick downpour of moisture, reported weather.com.
Seventeen people were unaccounted for early Friday morning, said Boulder County spokesman James Burrrus, with the addendum that "unaccounted for doesn't mean missing.... It means that we haven't heard back from them."
Three reported deaths have been attributed to the flooding. One person was killed by a collapsing house near Jamestown.
A man's body was recovered after a couple were swept away in their car by floodwaters northwest of Boulder. The woman was missing and feared dead, said Commander Heidi Prentup of the Boulder County Sheriff's Office.
The body of a third confirmed fatality, a man, was found by police on flood-watch patrols in Colorado Springs, about 100 miles to the south of Boulder, according to officials.
"It's going to take us a while to rebuild from this, no question," said Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper Thursday afternoon. "A storm of this size is going to cause severe consequences."
Torrential flooding in northern Colorado has resulted in at least three deaths, mudslides, multiple road closures, and the destruction of one dam. The resulting high water levels are impeding search and rescue teams from reaching stranded residents and motorists in the Boulder area northwest of Denver.
Volunteers are trying to help stranded people until emergency crews can arrive, said Boulder Office of Emergency Management spokeswoman Gabrielle Boerkircher.
The state's emergency staff and the Colorado National Guard were activated overnight, Gov. John Hickenlooper said at a press conference Thursday. At that time, said Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle, one fire crew was trapped by flood waters on the side of a mountain.
The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for central and north central Colorado through Thursday evening. The heaviest rainfall is expected in the afternoon and evening, though flash floods are possible throughout the day, reported the weather service.
Colorado Emergency Management Director Mike Chard said people should avoid creeks and waterways, and not attempt to cross flooded intersections in their cars. Boulder officials have not ordered evacuations, saying that more deaths are likely to occur when people get stuck in flood waters.
In some areas, nine-to-ten-foot walls of debris had accumulated. Boulder Creek is now running nine times faster than usual, said Sarah Huntley, a spokeswoman for the city of Boulder.
However, residents near southeast Estes Park were warned Wednesday night of a possible evacuation after a dam in the Big Elk Meadows area broke due to flood waters, reported the Larimer County office of Emergency Information.
"We're very concerned that land is continually unstable and water is going to keep coming down through the canyon," said Boulder EMA spokesman Andrew Bart. "We're also very concerned that there are definitely people trapped."
The National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency for the county and northwest Jefferson County, while a mandatory evacuation order was in effect for the tiny community of Jamestown and the Fourmile wildfire burn area.
Some homes had collapsed in Jamestown, where dozens of people live, and the first reported death connected to the flood was caused by a collapsing house in the Jamestown area, reports The Denver Post. All roads in and out of the town are blocked by flood waters, and debris.
The University of Colorado's Boulder campus was closed Thursday, and over 400 students, faculty, and staff members were evacuated.
The flood also forced the American Red Cross to relocate an evacuation shelter in Boulder, reports the Chicago Tribune.
Four to six inches of rain had fallen since mid-Wednesday, with as much as seven inches in some areas.
South of Denver, there have been several flash flood warnings in the area hit by last summer's Waldo Canyon Fire that resulted in the destruction of 347 homes and two deaths. Scorched soil absorbs less water, making it easier for water to build up and for flooding to occur.
The Boulder Office of Emergency Management is currently reporting flood-related power outages that were expected to continue into Thursday morning.
More than 700 customers were without power on Thursday morning in and around the city of Boulder, according to an outage map maintained by utility supplier Xcel Energy.
"This is not your ordinary day, or your ordinary disaster," said Sheriff Pelle at the press conference.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) declared Humberto a hurricane at 5 a.m. on Wednesday – meaning the storm, the first hurricane of the season, missed the title of being the tardiest such storm by a mere three hours.
At the time of the announcement, Humberto was located 310 miles west-northwest of the Cape Verde Islands and was producing winds of approximately 75 miles per hour, making it a Category 1 storm.
But Humberto is unlikely to make it to land: The storm is expected to strengthen Wednesday before weakening on Thursday, according to an NHC report.
The Category 1 designation indicates four-to-five-foot water surges, but any damage from such storms is usually minimal.
Since 1967, when meteorologists began using satellites to track storms, the first hurricane of the season that formed the latest materialized at 8 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2002, Dennis Feltgen, an NHC spokesman, told Bloomberg. The earliest hurricane on record was named April 20, 2003, according to Weather.com. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.
This hurricane season has been one of the calmest on record. There have been eight named storms thus far, but none gathered enough intensity to be rated as hurricanes until Humberto. A storm is given a name if it becomes a tropical storm, meaning that the storm's winds have reached 63 miles per hour. A tropical storm is then declared a hurricane only if winds reach 74 miles an hour.
“A slow northwestward motion is expected to resume later today and continue through the night,” Michael Brennan, a senior hurricane specialist at the NHC in Miami, said in an advisory, as reported by Bloomberg. “A gradual turn toward the north is expected Thursday and Thursday night.”
The power of Second Amendment advocacy ricocheted across Colorado this week with the recall of two state legislators who had pushed for tighter gun control.
State Senate President John Morse and state Sen. Angela Giron, both Democrats, were defeated in special elections, and both will be replaced by Republicans on the pro-gun side of the political ledger.
In the wake of the mass shooting at a suburban Denver theater last year, the Colorado state legislature passed stiffer gun control measures, including expanded background checks for gun buyers and limiting ammunition magazines to 15 rounds. Both ousted senators had supported that legislation.
Senator Morse's recall election was close, 51-49 percent, while Senator Giron was recalled by a margin of 56-44 percent. In both cases, Republicans won 100 percent of the vote to determine who would replace the ousted senators.
Gun rights supporters see the votes as a clear warning to any other politician who wants to keep his or her job. In a statement, the Colorado Republican Party called the results "a loud and clear message to out-of-touch Democrats across the nation."
Like a lot of other Democrats, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper wants to move on as quickly as possible to other issues. In a statement, he said he was "disappointed by the outcome of the recall elections," calling on voters to "refocus again on what unites Coloradans – creating jobs, educating our children, creating a healthier state – and on finding ways to keep Colorado moving forward."
The recall vote may not bode well for his political future.
“Gov. John Hickenlooper – once deemed so unbeatable that the GOP couldn't even find a candidate to run against him in 2014 – now faces falling approval ratings and a crowded field of Republican contenders, in part for backing stricter gun measures,” the Denver Post reported Tuesday as the results of the recall vote became clear.
A Quinnipiac poll last month had the governor on the losing side – 45-47 percent – of a question about whether he deserves reelection next year, with an overall 48 percent approval rating the polling organization called “lackluster.” One major reason likely was his stance on gun issues, with most Coloradans disapproving 52-35 percent.
National organizations on both sides of the issue had poured resources into the recall vote, including the National Rifle Association (NRA) and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who founded Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
Most of the outside money came from Mayor Bloomberg and others on the pro-gun-control, anti-recall side. But that may have backfired to some extent.
"The people of Colorado Springs sent a clear message to the Senate leader that his primary job was to defend their rights and freedoms and that he is ultimately accountable to them – his constituents, and not to the dollars or social engineering agendas of anti-gun billionaires," the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action said in a statement.
Tuesday's vote also exposed divisions between Colorado's growing urban and suburban areas and its rural towns. Dozens of elected county sheriffs have sued to block the gun laws and some activists are promoting a largely symbolic measure to secede from the state.
Morse recall organizer Timothy Knight said voters were upset that Colorado's Democrat-majority Legislature seemed more inclined to take its cues from the White House than its constituents. The gun laws passed this year with no Republican support.
Still, Democrats remain the majority in the Colorado Legislature, Democrat Hickenlooper is still the governor, and the new gun laws on background checks and ammunition magazines remain in effect.
“This election does not reflect the will of Coloradans, a majority of whom strongly support background checks and opposed these recalls,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “It was a reflection of a very small, carefully selected population of voters’ views on the legislature’s overall agenda this session.”
But it was clear from the results that advocating stronger gun control measures can be risky for those holding elective office, despite a spate of gun massacres around the country in recent years.
If he had any regrets, Mr. Morse didn’t indicate that as the vote results made clear that he was out of a job.
"I said at the time if it costs me my political career, so be it," Morse told Reuters shortly after conceding Tuesday night. "That's nothing compared to what the families of [gun violence] victims go through every single day. We did the right thing."
• This report includes material from the Associated Press.
Just hours after Sherrie Zimmerman frantically called 911 Monday and told police that her recently estranged husband, George, had punched her father in the nose and threatened both of them with a gun, she recanted, saying that her father would not press charges and she had seen no gun.
Her turnaround put brakes on a fresh police investigation into the man who was acquitted in July of murder and manslaughter in the killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.
Florida law treats domestic violence as "a criminal act rather than a domestic matter," so police could still pursue the case and arrest Mr. Zimmerman after viewing video footage gathered from home surveillance cameras and police squad cars.
But police told AP they did not find a gun on Mr. Zimmerman, and Lake Mary, Fla., Police Chief Steve Bracknell said that “domestic violence can’t be invoked because she has changed her story and says she didn’t see a firearm."
According to CNN, Mr. Zimmerman was sitting in his truck when Ms. Zimmerman called police on Monday:
On the 911 call, Shellie Zimmerman is breathing heavily when she tells a dispatcher that Zimmerman is still at the house.
"He's in his car and he continually has his hand on his gun, and he's saying, 'Step closer.' He's just threatening all of us with his firearm," she says.
The same report points to some discrepancy about reports of the alleged gun:
The question of the gun became confused later when police told reporters there was no gun involved, but George Zimmerman's attorney told CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 that he believed his client had a firearm on him.
"He acted appropriately. He never took the weapon out," said Mark O'Mara, who is also a CNN legal analyst. O'Mara said he never saw the gun.
In a July police video taken when a traffic policeman pulled Mr. Zimmerman over for speeding near Dallas, the officer refers clearly to a firearm in Zimmerman's glove compartment.
"Just take it easy, go ahead and shut your glove compartment. Don't play with your firearm, OK?"
Zimmerman got off with a warning, but it was his second return to the public eye within two weeks of his shooting verdict. Days earlier, he had made headlines for helping to rescue a family of four who were trapped in their car, after it rolled over on a highway in Sanford, Fla.
Since then, he has remained visible by earning a speeding ticket in Florida, touring the factory of the of the gunmaker that manufactured the weapon he used to kill Trayvon, and his wife's choice to file divorce. "I have a selfish husband," Sherrie Zimmerman told ABC in a video interview, "and I think George is all about George."