Stung by what they see as a leftward tilt by politicians in the state capital of Denver, residents of 11 rural counties in Colorado are voting in November whether to secede from the state.

The litany of local complaints range from green energy to gay rights, but the galvanizing event was the state legislature's vote to enact stricter gun controls. That act has already resulted in the recall of two Democrats who voted for the measure, which instituted background checks on gun purchasers and limits on magazine capacities. Now 11 northern counties want out, period.

If successful, the area — variously called New Colorado or North Colorado — would become the country's first new state since West Virginia seceded (sort of) from Virginia in 1863. The hurdles, however, are formidable. Not only would Colorado legislators have to approve the split, but so would Congress.

“People think this is a radical idea,” said Jeffrey Hare, a leader of the 51st State Initiative, which supports secession. “It’s really not. What we’re attempting to do is restore liberty.”

The movement has already had some effect on the state's Democratic governor, John W. Hickenlooper, who has vowed to hew to more moderate politics if re-elected this year.

“There are enough people that feel their views and their opinions aren’t being considered that I think that’s a serious problem, and I take it very seriously,” Gov. Hickenlooper said in an interview with KOA radio recently.

Secession/statehood dreams surface from time to time in U.S. history. Ever heard of Texlahoma, a hybrid vision of parts of Texas and Oklahoma? Or Absaroka, a more absurd-sounding combination of parts of South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming? How about Upper Michigan and North California? All these statehood schemes are part of American history and aspirations. And all have failed.

The next attempt comes this November.