DENVER (AP) – In addition to governor and lieutenant governor, three statewide offices are up for grabs in Colorado. The offices – attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer – can be stepping stones to higher office.
Colorado is choosing a new attorney general for the first time in a decade with the retirement of Republican John Suthers. The candidates to succeed him are his current deputy, Republican Cynthia Coffman, and former Adams County prosecutor Don Quick.
The race has been a relatively low-key affair, but attorneys general can have an outsize influence on state government. They decide what litigation to pursue and set the tone for the state judiciary.
The office also is often a launching pad for higher office. Suthers’ two predecessors – Democrat Ken Salazar and Republican Gale Norton – each went on to become U.S. interior secretary.
SECRETARY OF STATE
The secretary of state oversees elections, so the job comes with plenty of wrangling between Democrats and Republicans seeking an edge at the polls.
Republican Scott Gessler served a combative single term in which he clashed with Democratic legislators over elections rules, including same-day voter registration. He resigned for an unsuccessful bid at the GOP gubernatorial nomination.
Seeking to replace Gessler are Republican Wayne Williams, who currently oversees elections in El Paso County, and Democrat Joe Neguse, a University of Colorado regent.
Republican Walker Stapleton is seeking a second term as treasurer, a job that entails managing Colorado’s investments, safeguarding the state checkbook and making sure bills are paid on time.
Stapleton faces Democrat Betsy Markey, a former member of Congress and businesswoman from Fort Collins.
The office has a political overtone because the treasurer helps oversee Colorado’s pension system for teachers and state workers, a system with heavy unfunded liabilities. Republicans and Democrats generally disagree on measures needed to address that liability.
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– By Kristen Wyatt, AP Writer
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