Phil Weiser became the Democratic nominee for attorney general on Saturday as Rep. Joe Salazar conceded and withdrew from the race.
With 100 percent of counties reporting, Weiser received 50.43 percent of votes cast, to 49.57 percent cast for State Representative Joe Salazar of Thornton. He now begins the next phase of his campaign, which has him set against Republican George Brauchler for the attorney general seat.
“I want to sincerely congratulate our nominee, Phil Weiser,” Salazar said in a public statement Saturday. “He ran a great campaign in a tough race. We’ve started a lot of conversations about the importance of the Attorney General’s office, how to ensure equity and justice are priorities of our elected officials, and about the future of the Democratic party.
There was a roughly 5,000-vote difference between the two candidates, which had Salazar waiting until ever vote was counted. He also ended his race with more than $1.3 million less in contributions for his race. Salazar highlighted the fact that he went up against “millions of dollars and institutional power.”
Weiser indicated that he and Salazar will continue to work together as the race proceeds. “Joe is a fierce advocate for social justice and a true fighter for those less fortunate, from the homeless to those treated unfairly by our criminal justice system. I am a far better candidate because of the experience running against him in this primary and share his commitment to listening to those who are not often heard.”
Weiser went on to say that he believes it will be a difficult election since only two Democrats have won the Colorado attorney general seat in 70 years.
Between both Democratic candidates, 590,960 votes were cast to Republicans’ 414,532 in the primary election. Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck shareholder Michael Feeley said he believes the gap between Democrats and Republicans participating in the primary could signal a higher level of intensity and enthusiasm from Democratic voters but said, “There’s a long way to go yet,” regarding what that might signal for November’s election. “It will be a top-of-the-ticket race,” he said.
Melissa Kuipers Blake, also a Brownstein shareholder, said 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 and that Colorado’s attorney general election is likely to be “in the upper echelon” of races around the country for both associations due to the open seat and growing influence of Colorado.