George Brauchler is running for attorney general to keep the office in Republican hands

This has been expected since last week, when current AG Cynthia Coffman announced she’d be running for governor in a crowded Republican primary field.

George Brauchler addresses the Western Conservative Summit, July 22, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler made it official Monday: He’s withdrawing from the governor’s race and instead pursuing the office of attorney general of Colorado.

This has been expected since last week, when current AG Cynthia Coffman announced she’d be running for governor in a crowded Republican primary field. Brauchler is popular among movement conservatives and won a straw poll at the Western Conservative Summit, but he’s struggled to raise the money he’ll need to be competitive in the governor’s race.

In a statement posted to his campaign website, Brauchler said Coffman’s decision leaves the attorney general’s office undefended and at risk of falling into the wrong hands.

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.

While Democrats have held the governor’s office since 2007, the office of AG has generally been held by Republicans. As Ernest Luning fleshed out in an article at Colorado Politics before Brauchler made it official, any Republican running this year is now behind where they ought to be, giving Democrats a better shot.

Brauchler, however, appears unlikely to face a primary challenge at this point, while there are five Democrats trying to get the seat. Rep. Ken Buck, a former Weld County DA, had said he might run for AG if Coffman stepped aside, but he’s running for re-election to his congressional seat, with both Republican primary challengers and three Democratic contenders.

Erica Meltzer

Author: Erica Meltzer

Erica Meltzer covers government and politics. She's worked for newspapers in Colorado, Arizona and Illinois and once won a First Amendment Award by showing up in the wrong place at the wrong time. She served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay and can swear fluently in Guarani. She gets emotional about public libraries. Contact Erica Meltzer at 303-502-2802, or @meltzere.