DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado’s race for governor is heating up 19 months ahead of Election Day in 2018.
Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler officially announced his plans to run for governor on Wednesday morning. Brauchler is known to many as the lead prosecutor in the Aurora theater shooting trial in 2015.
When asked how his experience as a district attorney helps prepare him for running the state, Brauchler said, “the way I’ve run the district attorney’s office has been to turn it into the most transparent district attorney’s office in the state of Colorado, and frankly, the most accountable to the citizens that we represent.”
Next year’s race for the governor’s seat will be one of the most contested races in decades. Brauchler is no stranger to controversy. He came under fire for seeking the death penalty in the theater shooting trial.
“I’m not in this race to become the best loved governor. I don’t think affability is a substitute for leadership, and I think that’s what we’ve seen in the past couple of terms. I’m in the business of doing things that are right. If they come with political cost, so be it, but I will stand up for what I think is right,” said Brauchler.
The race proves to be a challenge on many fronts for Brauchler. Only two Republicans have held the governor’s seat in Colorado in the last 60 years. Bill Owens served as the last Republican governor from 1999 until 2007.
CBS4’s Political Specialist Shaun Boyd asked Brauchler what he will do differently to achieve a successful run. He responded, “I believe that this leadership that I want to bring to the state… it isn’t dictated by being a Republican. It is dictated by being a Colorado Republican, a Western Republican, and I think I embrace that and I can bring that.”
“I’m not a career politician. The only other job I’ve ever run for is the one that I hold right now, and that is as district attorney. And, as you’ve pointed out, it isn’t a natural jump to go from district attorney to governor, but it is a leadership position.”
He told CBS4 he is a conservative, and welcomes questions about his political stances. He says his intention is to be the most accessible governor in Colorado.
Brauchler touched on how anyone running for this office should stand up to any federal administration that “seeks to impose its will on top of the state of Colorado, and what it thinks is best.”
Brauchler also stated that funding for education and transportation are two of the biggest issues facing the state.
“I have been fiscally responsible. I’m the only D.A. I can think of in the history of the state that has ever gone to the county commissioners and said please cut my pay to the lowest in the state of Colorado,” said Brauchler.
He opposes raising the sales tax for roads, and while he supports school choice, he says a majority of children in Colorado attend traditional public schools.
The father of four said he considered running for U.S. Senate last year, but decided against it in order to be closer to his children.