Republicans Can’t Find an Attorney General Candidate

Phil Weiser

There may be no political office in Colorado that better illustrates our state’s changes over the last decade than that of Attorney General.

For 21 of the last 30 years, a Republican served as the chief law enforcement officer in Colorado. In 2022, the GOP may all but concede the office to a Democrat.

But for a six-year interruption by Democrat Ken Salazar (1999-2005), Republicans in recent history held a pretty firm grip on the Attorney General’s office. Gale Norton (1991-99), John Suthers (2005-15) and Cynthia Coffman (2015-19) kept the AG’s chair warm for the GOP until Democrat Phil Weiser easily defeated Republican George Brauchler in 2018 (Suthers, in fact, is the second-longest serving AG in state history).

Weiser is running for re-election in 2022 and raising record sums of money for his campaign. Through Q3 of this year, Weiser had raised $2.2 million for the cycle, ending the month of September with more than $2 million in the bank — a feat made all the more impressive considering the $625 contribution limits for the race.

Republicans, meanwhile, don’t even have a potential candidate for the job. For months, it was rumored that 18th JD District Attorney John Kellner would likely be the Republican candidate for AG. But from what we hear, Kellner recently decided not to seek the GOP nomination in 2022. Last summer, former state lawmaker and prosecutor Mark Waller made a similar decision to skip the AG’s race after months of deliberation. Former U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn, who seemed like the most logical 2022 choice for Republicans, closed the door on that idea earlier this year.

Republicans will surely nominate someone for AG in 2022, but it’s looking increasingly likely that the GOP won’t be spending much time, money, or energy on defeating Weiser. The Republican Attorney General’s Association (RAGA) has the money to swoop in and fund most of the media buys for a GOP candidate. At some point, however, the lift just becomes too big to make sense; RAGA would have to foot the bill for just about everything given the lack of time for a GOP candidate to raise money.

It is not illogical that Republicans haven’t found a real candidate for AG. Weiser has proven to be an active and adept AG, leaving no obvious narrative to spin for why he should be voted out. The fact that Weiser will likely add another big chunk of money to his warchest in Q4 makes a serious challenge that much more daunting.

If Republicans don’t present a viable candidate for Attorney General by mid-January, it probably means that the GOP is just going to throw some schmuck to the wolves in order to prevent Weiser from having the 2022 ballot all to himself. This isn’t a scenario many political observers would have predicted a decade ago, but that’s the new reality for Republicans in Colorado.

32 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. RepealAndReplace says:

    Jenna Ellis, your party needs you.

  2. Matt A. Harry says:

    Tina Peters might need a job. 


  3. 2Jung2Die says:

    John Eastman would be an interesting matchup with Weiser, between the two finest the University of Colorado have to offer

  4. Peromyscus says:

    I sent Weiner a donation after hearing him on Ross Kaminsky's show a few weeks ago.  He was outstanding, parrying Kaminsky's weak Libertarian ripostes easily.  

  5. davebarnes says:

    "some shmuck to the wolves" should be schmuck.


  6. MichaelBowman says:

    Don’t they have some closeted heterosexual in a downtown law firm willing to take one for the team?!?! 

  7. Diogenesdemar says:

    I’m finding this difficult to believe.  Did anyone talk to Brauchler? (OK, I can understand why no one would want to, but . . .)

    Given George’s frequently published opinion articles blargle and nonsensical criticisms in the Post, I can’t believe he’s not signing up as their beat-down offering again??  (Or, did the Post just hire him to fill in their need for some more right-wing propagandists whining in the wind?)


    • RepealAndReplace says:

      Boy George was hoping that the new CD 8 would be centered around Douglas County so he could go to DC and join the Free Dumb Caucus.

      But alas, it was not to be.

    • Peromyscus says:

      Brauchler is considering a run for Guv.  His one-hour morning show on KNUS is running the George flag up the pole.  And he's pretty damn good on that show, I have to admit.  

      • Diogenesdemar says:

        Well, he can't be as bad at everything as he was at being a DA . . .

        • Peromyscus says:

          I actually like Brauchler.  He's unflappable, intelligent, doesn't put up with the Big Lie BS, and suffers fools kindly (lot of that in AM radio).  I could see myself voting for him in certain circumstances – not against Phil or Jared, of course.  What did you not like about his DA stint?  

          • kwtree says:

            He botched prosecution, and barely investigated Terry Maketa for his many financial, professional, and personal misdeeds. I personally think Brauchler was intentionally  protecting a GOP Good Old Boy. So malice or incompetence? UPICK. 

            Then there was  a whole nother lawsuit alleging that the investigation into prison chief Tom Clement’s murder was also botched under Broccoli’s supervision. 

            And who can forget Broccoli’s on again, off again posturing about getting the death penalty for mass murderer James Holmes? 

          • Diogenesdemar says:

            I suppose perhaps the one and only consistent thing the GOP has been doing for decades, and continues to do in superlatives today, is suffering fools – unfortunately. It’s like they enjoy it? . . .

            On the whole he maybe wasn’t completely terrible.  But, he did often press the high profile issues, probably more as political grandstanding than as prudent lawyering, too often to the point of under-resulting and over-spending.

            He was definitely far more political and imprudent in many of his actions than I would expect of a “good” head of any public law office.

            Quite frankly, I don’t think anyone can be both a “good” public attorney and also be so overtly politician. You only get to choose just one.

          • spaceman2021 says:

            His decision to go death on James Holmes cost the taxpayers millions.  The jury saved the taxpayers more millions. 

  8. Sunmusing says:

    one must assume that any and all republicans have some kind of criminal past, present or future…republicans don't want to govern in the name of the people…they want to rule as part of the christofascist regime…republicans are the enemy of our nation…

    • Peromyscus says:

      See, that's what makes Brauchler different.  He doesn't have any sort of criminal past nor, I'd bet, aspire to such in the future.  I actually think he'd give Jared a good run for his money.  Brauchler's hesitation, of course, is that he'd be smeared and jeered by his own party for refusing to lick Trump's a$$.  Still I think he personally could take even that.  It's his youngish family that must concern him (one daughter in college and the rest younger).  

      I can't believe I'm sticking up for Brauchler, but you all are making him out to be like the rest of the GOP politicians in this state, and he's most def not.  

      • kwtree says:

        Deer Mouse, I’d rather see Broccoli make his debut on “Dancing with the Stars”. His jig lives on. 

        Since I just checked out Broccoli’s Twitter feed, I agree with you that he is definitely  running for something. Every post is about crime, rising crime, crime in CA, etc, and most feature scary-looking brown people. 
        Who is that directed at? 

      • Conserv. Head Banger says:

        Peromyscus: one must take dip-shit comments from Sunmusing, like the one above, with a large grain of salt.

    • kwtree says:

      I would differentiate between “Republicans” and the Republican Party. The Party is now mostly the party of Trump and Trumpism- so it is in fact the enemy of democracy. That is the culmination of an implemented long term  plan.

      There are still individual Republicans in various stages of disillusion or dissociation from the Party of  yesteryear. Most have changed affiliation already- but some few are still trying to work within the existing structure. 
      I think that it isn’t helpful to demonize Republicans as people.

      That said, we need to also stop glorifying “bipartisanship”.


      • Peromyscus says:

        Understood.  I don't think I'm "glorifying" Brauchler, but I certainly cheer his effort to pull the GOP away from the current disastrous direction.   I don't like his self-gratifying focus on crime, but as a former DA he's at least got hands-on experience to speak from.  And he doesn't smear each and every Dem he runs across – that's also a positive.  Some little things I like:  as an ex-military guy who's been to Afghanistan (and is currently in the Guard), he kind of pooh-pooh's all the "Thank you for your service" BS that the GOP serves up, saying that he always replies "Thanks for paying your taxes".  

        Brauchler's not an ideologue, a Trump acolyte, or a jingoistic mouthpiece for so-called "conservative values".  It's refreshing as hell.  I can criticize some of his positions and at the same time see him as a ray of hope for…uh, the Free World?  Yeah.  

  9. JohnInDenver says:

    Can Lang Sias run for TWO offices at the same time?  he's got a law degree and I think I remember he actually practiced in CO at some point.

  10. RepealAndReplace says:

    Is the Boy George for Governor chatter a sign that the GOP has some hesitation about Hiedi Heidi Ganahl?

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