ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler says he’s leaving the governor’s race and will instead run for attorney general.
Brauchler’s decision follows a move by current Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman to jump into the crowded race for governor.
Brauchler announced his campaign for governor in April. He says Monday morning’s decision was neither easy nor obvious.
In an email to supporters on Monday he said that activists and donors had been pleading with him to switch races to keep the top law enforcement post in the party.
“I have been asked to redirect my passion for improving Colorado as governor to instead protecting Colorado by fighting for the position of attorney general,” Brauchler wrote.
Brauchler’s gubernatorial campaign had struggled to raise money and stand out in a crowded field that includes former Rep. Tom Tancredo, state treasurer Walker Stapleton and businessman Doug Robinson. In his email, Brauchler quipped that “any day now, I expect John Elway, Todd Helton, Wonder Woman, and Santa Claus to jump into this race.”
Democrats have a similarly crowded gubernatorial field with Rep. Jared Polis, former state treasurer Cary Kennedy, Lt. Gov Donna Lynne and former State Senator Mike Johnston vying for the party’s nomination. Several Democrats are also running for attorney general, including State Rep. Joe Salazar, prosecutor Michael Dougherty and former University of Colorado law school dean Phil Weiser.
He says being a public servant has always been about “my commitment to serving Colorado far more than it has been about the title of the elected position.”
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.
Brauchler prosecuted the Aurora Theater Shooting trial.
Colorado Democratic Party Spokesman Eric Walker responded with this statement: “It’s no coincidence Brauchler decided to get out of the race right after Republicans got shellacked across the country in the 2017 elections. Unfortunately for Brauchler, he will still face an uphill battle in the AG race against a strong Democratic field and a looming anti-Trump wave looking to turn back the GOP’s anti-middle class agenda.”
Brauchler sent out the following letter on Monday regarding his decision.
The Colorado I am about to turn over to my four great children is incredibly different from the one I inherited from my parents a little more than four decades ago. This past April, my family and I made the profound decision to do something about it. The best, perhaps only, opportunity to keep Colorado from becoming California and to make our great state even greater was to try to take back the leadership of state government after twelve years of having a Governor of Denver. Republicans would have the ability to impact government positively in each of the four statewide offices Treasurer, Secretary of State, Attorney General, and Governor for the first time in many, many years and just when Colorado needs it most.
We announced our run for Governor and asked for your support. We have traveled the state multiple times, earning support the way a grassroots Coloradan does: kitchen to kitchen, parade to parade, handshake to handshake, answering all questions and listening to important issues. Because of you, we have been everywhere. Because of you, we have defied the odds. Because of you, we have won every straw poll from the Western Conservative Summit, to the Arapahoe Tea Party, to the Colorado Federation of Women by huge numbers. Because of you, we were the only campaign to earn contributions from every one of Colorado’s 64 counties by the time we reported our very first fundraising totals. Along the way, we remained undaunted as the campaign watched the addition of more and more candidates. Any day now, I expect John Elway, Todd Helton, Wonder Woman, and Santa Claus to jump into this race. In fact, if you’re reading this, you have a 1-in-7 chance of running for Governor of Colorado.
Several days ago, something significant changed, and it is why I write to you now.
Last week less than one year before the general election the incumbent Attorney General announced that she would not be seeking to defend that critical position. Progressives on the other side of the political aisle had spent many months raising mountains of cash to capture the position that plays such a vital role in protecting our state and way of life. The Attorney General is the state’s top attorney, in charge of the state’s largest law firm, and charged with the great responsibility of upholding and defending our laws. It is a powerful position that must not fall into the hands of someone who would use it to advance extreme ideological positions, to legislate through litigation, or to pick winners and losers in our economy. The departure of the incumbent Attorney General makes that a very real possibility.
Last Wednesday, my phone and email began to blow up with concerns from friends, supporters, members of the business community and others for Colorado’s possible future with an extreme progressive Governor and a like-minded activist Attorney General. I have been humbled by the many statements encouraging me to step away from the Governor’s race and take on the difficult task of mounting the defense of this pivotal position with less than a year on the campaign calendar and piles of money already raised by those seeking to take this office in a drastically new direction. I have been asked to redirect my passion for improving Colorado as Governor to instead protecting Colorado by fighting for the position of Attorney General.
I have made the decision to suspend my pursuit of our state’s Governorship and to announce my candidacy for Attorney General of the State of Colorado. This decision was neither easy nor obvious. Many of my thoughts have been about you, my family, and the others impacted by this decision.
My decision to run for office has always been about my commitment to serving Colorado far more than it has been about the title of the elected position. That commitment remains just as strong as we make this important change.
It has been an honor to have your support and selfless dedication to our campaign for Colorado as Governor. It would be an honor to know that I still have your support.
Let’s go win this thing.
Paid for by George 2018