Most DA Races Have Candidates From Just One Party, More Than Half Unopposed
18th District Race most expensive, campaign finance records show

by Julia Cardi

All of Colorado’s 22 judicial districts will elect their top prosecutors in November, and about half of them will see a new official elected to the job.  

 The 18th District has never had a Democratic DA but has two Democrats vying for their party’s nomination to run against one Republican candidate. The race has seen the lion’s share of the money in all of the 22 races, comprising a third of all funds both raised and spent.  

 Colorado’s primary takes place Tuesday, so here are some highlights of the DA races. All information is from the Secretary of State’s website. Following the primary, Law Week will dig deeper into the nuances and finances of elections for the top prosecution spot in each district. 

New vs. Old Blood 

District attorneys are limited to two four-year terms in most of Colorado’s districts. Ten districts have their current DA running for another term, 10 will elect a new top prosecutor and two districts have interim DAs seeking a term. 

  • The 1st, 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th, 13th, 16th, 17th, 18th and 22nd Districts have current DAs not seeking another term .
  • Twelve current DAs are running for reelection: 
    • Beth McCann in the 2nd District. 
    • Henry Solano in the 3rd District. 
    • Christian Champagne in the 6th District. 
    • Jefferson Cheney in the 9th District. 
    • Jeff Chostner in the 10th District. 
    • Kaitlin Turner in the 11th District. 
    • Robert Willett in the 12th District. Willett was appointed by Gov. Jared Polis after DA Crista Newmeyer-Olsen was appointed to a district judge position. 
    • Matt Karzen in the 14th District. Karzen was appointed by Polis after DA Brett Barkey resigned. 
    • Joshua Vogel in the 15th District. 
    • Michael Rourke in the 19th District. 
    • Michael Dougherty in the 20th District. 
    • Daniel Rubinstein in the 21st District. 

Partisan in Name Only? 

District attorney elections are technically partisan races, but it’s more common for judicial districts to have candidates from only one party running. Only six districts have both Democratic and Republican candidates competing for the top prosecutor spot in November. Sixteen, including an unaffiliated candidate in the 14th District, have candidates from only one party running. More than half, 13 districts, have candidates running unopposed in their own party or the opposite one. 

  • The 1st, 8th, 11th, 16th, 17th and 18th Districts have Democratic and Republican candidates.  
  • The 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 10th, 12th and 20th Districts have only Democratic candidates running. 
    • Out of these races, five districts have candidates running unopposed: 
      • Beth McCann in the 2nd District. 
      • Henry Solano in the 3rd District. 
      • Christian Champagne in the 6th District. 
      • Jeff Chostner in the 10th District. 
      • Michael Dougherty in the 20th District. 
  • Two districts have more than one candidate: 
    • Heidi McCollum and Braden Christopher Angel in the 5th District. 
    • Robert Willett and Alonzo Christopher Payne in the 12th District. 
  • The 4th, 7th, 9th, 13th, 15th, 19th, 21st and 22nd Districts have only Republican candidates running. 
    • Out of those races, seven districts have candidates running unopposed: 
      • Seth Ryan in the 7th District. 
      • Jefferson Cheney in the 9th District. 
      • Travis Sides in the 13th District. 
      • Joshua Vogel in the 15th District. 
      • Michael Rourke in the 19th District. 
      • Daniel Rubinstein in the 21st District. 
      • Matthew Margeson in the 22nd District. 
    •  One district has more than one candidate: Michael Allen and Mark Waller in the 4th District. 
  • The 14th District has Matt Karzen running unopposed as an unaffiliated candidate. 

 The Money 

Across all 22 districts, candidates have raised $1,266,535.16 total and spent $671,265.07. The 18th District race has cost the most, with candidates raising $420,600.38 total and spending $233,986.70. 

  • Democratic candidate Amy Padden has raised the most in contributions at $91,508.80. 
  • Her Democratic opponent Matthew Maillaro has spent the most at $151,812.51. 
  • Maillaro has also raised the most in loans or self-funding in any DA race, at $130,000. 
  • Republican candidate John Kellner has raised $40,711.37 and spent $11,193.05. 

The races in the 6th, 15th, 16th, 21st and 22nd districts have not seen candidates raise or spend any money. Four of those races are unopposed. 

  • In the 16th District, neither Democrat Rodney Fouracre nor Republican William Culver have raised or spent money.  

 Of unopposed candidates, current 2nd District DA Beth McCann has raised and spent the most. 

  • She started with $55,077.42 on hand. 
  • She has taken in $66,729.44 in contributions and spent $30,918.08. 
  • She has not used funding from loans.