UPDATE: The Denver Post finds some similar problems with Kellner’s narrative:
Between 2020 and 2021, Colorado saw an 8% increase in crime against persons, according to state public safety data, compared to an increase of 12% in Kellner’s district. Judicial District 1 (Jefferson and Gilpin counties) saw a 5% increase, Judicial District 2 (Denver) saw a 3.8% increase and Judicial District 17 (Adams and Broomfield counties) saw a 12.7% increase.
Judicial District 18’s increases in crimes against property and sex offenses were also higher than the state’s, though the increased percentage of motor vehicle theft was lower.
“Indifference to election rules should call into question Mr. Kellner’s ability to fulfill the duties of the office he is seeking.”
— Bruce Brown, former DA in JD-5.
Republican John Kellner is running to be Colorado’s Attorney General despite only being elected as the District Attorney in JD-18 (Arapahoe, Douglas counties) in 2020. You could make a solid argument against Kellner based on the distasteful fact that he is seeking higher office without even getting halfway through his first term as DA, and you wouldn’t be incorrect.
But Kellner’s happy feet might also be emblematic of more troubling issues: Kellner is not doing particularly well at his current job and doesn’t seem to have much of an interest in following laws that apply to his own campaign.
As we noted earlier this week, Kellner has been saying for months that he is the solution to rising crime (which is not just a Colorado problem, of course, but that’s a different story). Kellner inaccurately blames incumbent Democratic Attorney General Phil Weiser for rising crime in Colorado. He focuses on motor vehicle theft because the numbers show that crime rates are actually significantly higher in JD-18.
But this isn’t the only trouble Kellner has run into while running for Attorney General. Check out this headline on Thursday from The Colorado Springs Gazette:
As Marianne Goodland reports for the Gazette:
Republican attorney general candidate John Kellner is facing a third campaign finance complaint, a historic benchmark among those seeking to become Colorado’s chief legal officer.
No attorney general or candidate for that office has more than one complaint in the 22 years TRACER, the campaign finance database run by the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, system has tracked those complaint. [Pols emphasis]
Kellner supporters will argue that all three complaints came from the same place, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t valid. The third complaint is similar to the first two complaints, filed in May and July, that were both ruled to be legitimate campaign violations that Kellner’s campaign was allowed to fix.
The bigger picture here is that Kellner keeps violating the law yet wants Colorado voters to elect him to be the chief law enforcement officer in Colorado.
As Goodland continues:
Kellner’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
The repeated violations raise questions about Kellner’s ability to follow the law, according to Bruce Brown, an attorney in Idaho Springs and the former district attorney for the Fifth Judicial District. [Pols emphasis]
“Colorado campaign finance rules serve an important role in assuring voters obtain transparent and timely information. A candidate for a law enforcement leadership position, such as attorney general, should and is held to a higher standard given the need to set the best possible leadership example for the rule of law,” he said. “Indifference to election rules should call into question Mr. Kellner’s ability to fulfill the duties of the office he is seeking, since an attorney general has a legal duty to assist in the conduct of fair elections.”
John Kellner wants to be Colorado’s next Attorney General, despite the fact that crime rates are WORSE in his current judicial district and he is setting new records for breaking campaign finance laws. Oh, and Kellner also supported the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade.
Perhaps we’re asking the wrong question here. Instead of debating whether Kellner is qualified to be Attorney General, we should probably start asking why Kellner is a District Attorney right now.
what do you expect from george bruachler's little buddy
Mr. Kellner knows full well that the attorney general has literally no authority to pursue car thieves. Only the local district attorneys have such authority. Under Colorado statutes only the district attorneys have general criminal jurisdiction. The scope of the attorney general’s criminal jurisdiction is very limited primarily to tax fraud, securities fraud, medicaid fraud and consumer fraud.
Someone should ask Mr. Kellner what he would do if Attorney General Weiser filed a case against an alleged car thief in the 18th Judicial District. He would immediately file a motion with the court to have the AG removed from the case and his office substituted as the prosecutor. He would argue that Colorado Supreme Court decisions dating back to the mid-1970’s hold that the attorney general does not have any authority to prosecute the so called “knife and gun club ” crimes, including car theft, and he would be correct. The attorney general can only prosecute such crimes if the local DA asks him to and designates an assistant attorney general as a special assistnt district attorney.
This leads to two questions Mr. kellner has not and probably does not want to answer:
1. Since he is the sole prosecutor who has authority to prosecute car thieves in the 18th Judicial District, what has he done to stem the tide of car thefts in the 18th Judicial District?
2. Since the AG cannot prosecute car thieves in the 18th Judicial District without Mr. Kellner’s permission, has he invited the AG to participate in prosecuting car thieves in the 18th Judicial District?
You can pin this tail squarely on the donkey – Mr. Kellner.
He’s a DA right now because he had an R next to his name on the ballot, and Douglas, Lincoln, and Elbert are not going to vote for no “dimmycrat.” Arapahoe was carried soundly by Kellner’s opponent, and because of the slim margin of victory in the district, there was a mandatory recount. Kellner won by fewer than 1500 votes out of more than 570k cast. Padden got 53k more votes in Arapahoe than Kellner. In the 2024 election, Douglas, Lincoln, and Elbert become the new 23rd JD, and Arapahoe become the sole county in the 18th JD. So Kellner can’t win re-election in the 18th, but if he lives in the new 23rd he’d coast to victory. He declared for the AG race weeks after the one-year anniversary of his swearing in. He’s a worthless DA and would be a worthless AG. Kinda like his buddy Brauchler.
He is still a marginal improvement over Boy George. But it's a very thin margin.
He is an improvement, but only slightly. Looking forward to a much better DA in Arapahoe come 2025