AG Race Going Down to the Wire

Roughly 36 hours after polls closed for Colorado’s primary voting, the Democratic party still does not have a nominee for attorney general.

As of 5:44 p.m. yesterday, Phil Weiser was holding onto his slim lead over his opponent Joe Salazar. The Secretary of State’s Office reported that Weiser holds 50.43 percent of the vote to Salazar’s 49.57 percent — a difference of just over 5,000 votes. The Secretary of State will continue voting through today.

Salazar said yesterday evening that he is not giving up in the race, either. According to county clerk reporting, there are still 7,627 ballots outstanding in Douglas, Boulder and Montrose counties, and Denver is also awaiting the 3,422 ballots sent to overseas and military voters.

“This has been an exciting primary, and we are awaiting the final results of ballots that have yet to be counted. In Colorado, our vote is our voice, and every Coloradan deserves to have their voice heard in this election,” Salazar said. “There is currently a 5,190 vote difference in the Democratic primary for Attorney General, and these final ballots to be counted have the potential to decide this election.”

The results of those votes could also trigger a recount as well, if the margin is slim enough. A difference of less than .5 percent would trigger an automatic recount, and the candidate who comes up short could opt to pay for a recount if the difference is less than 1 percent.

Michael Feeley, a shareholder at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, said both candidates will likely be trying to cure votes by correcting any ballots that might have been invalidated due to signing errors by the voter.

The Next Phase

Regardless of the outcome of the Democratic primary, the Republican candidate, George Brauchler, is already launching into his campaign in the next phase of the race. On Wednesday, his campaign released a new advertisement highlighting his military experience. He also has called out Weiser, his likely opponent, on Twitter by citing his lack of courtroom experience and identifying him as “the professor” rather than “the attorney.”

In addition to Brauchler targeting Weiser as his opponent, Weiser is expected to be the more formidable challenger as well.

“Salazar has a hard and fast voting record that Republicans would have exploited, making it a more direct and aggressive campaign against him,” Melissa Kuipers Blake, a shareholder at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck said. “Weiser doesn’t have that record. He’s more moderate, which makes a difference.”

Regardless of the final outcome of the Democratic primary, the attorney general race is expected to be a major race for both the Republican Attorney General’s Association and Democratic Attorney General’s Association. Brauchler has already received a strong push from RAGA in his campaign. Kuipers said the race is “in the upper echelon” of races around the country for both associations.

“It’s an open seat in a not politically inconsequential state,” Brownstein shareholder Michael Feeley said.