If you’re looking to understand Senate President John Morse’s ouster from office Tuesday, all you had to do was hang out with Bernie Herpin’s supporters as they expounded on guns, government and fear.
One explained his backing of Herpin by boasting about the sidearm he was carrying outside a polling place.
One offered this reporter a chance to hold his 15-round magazine.
And another prayed for Herpin’s victory to protect what he interprets as Jesus’s 2nd Amendment mandate.
“I was praying tonight that God would inspire His people,” Gordon Klingenschmitt, assured Linda Herpin, wife of the GOP recall challenger, minutes before El Paso County Republicans announced that her husband had unseated Morse, a Democrat.
Klingenschmitt, who goes by the name Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt, PhD, or “Chaps,” has made Colorado Springs his home off and on since 1986. He describes himself as pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-Israel and pro-Jesus. He’s also pro-guns.
“I wanted to help recall John Morse specifically because of 2nd Amendment issues,” he said. “As a Christian, as a person who follows Jesus, I believe in the 2nd Amendment. I believe that when Jesus said, for example, ‘sell your cloak and buy a sword,’ that he endorsed the idea of self-defense, that defending yourself is not a crime. In fact, it’s a moral obligation to defend your wife, to defend your family, and John Morse stands against families who want to do that —stands against people who want to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights.”
Klingenschmitt has made headlines for trying to “exorcise” homosexuality out of gay men and lesbians and what he sees as a demonic spirit in Barack Obama. He also was court-martialed from the Navy for wearing his uniform in front of the White House protesting restrictions on prayer.
Many in the loyal cadre of Herpin activists and supporters gathered Tuesday night shared similar 2nd Amendment views, even while the party downplayed the role Morse’s gun legislation had in Herpin’s recall success. Still, panic about the possibility of losing the 2nd Amendment, and anxieties about the growth of a central government gave recall supporters an ideological fervor that Morse’s bakers seemed to lack.
“He [John Morse] quit listening to the people in his district, and he started listening to the people back East, or wherever,” former state Rep. Larry Liston said in the moments after Herpin’s victory. “Nobody [in his district] had met him.”
Liston doesn’t see Herpin’s win as a national referendum, but is sure it sent a strong message to elected officials: “It is more than about guns, it’s about respect for the citizens.”
In his victory speech, Herpin — a former Colorado Springs councilman – credited his victory to volunteers and local Republican Party activists. One audience member loudly added: “And the NRA.”
This article was written by Shelby Kinney-Lang for coloradoindependent.com; continue reading at coloradoindependent.com.