Incumbent AG Suthers wins reelection easily over Democratic challenger Garnett

By Marianne Goodland
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Attorney General John Suthers has won a second term as the state’s top lawyer, beating back a challenge from Boulder District Attorney and Democrat Stan Garnett.

Suthers told The Colorado Statesman Thursday he was re-elected because voters believe he has done a good job as Attorney General. He pointed out he had been endorsed by every major newspaper in the state, even those which had disagreed with him over joining in the lawsuit challenging the federal government’s authority on healthcare reform. He noted that polling showed his favorable ratings were twice as high as his unfavorables.

Attorney General John Suthers delivers his victory speech at the Republican Party’s Election Night gathering in Greenwood Village.
Photo by Pete Heacox/The Colorado Statesman
Democratic candidate for attorney general, Stan Garnett, uses the camera on his cell phone to take a picture of his name on the television as election results come in. Garnett lost his bid to incumbent Republican John Suthers.
Photo by Jason Kosena/The Colorado Statesman

With 96 percent of the state’s 3,119 precincts reporting, according to The Denver Post, Suthers had captured 56.9 percent, or about 908,026 votes. Garnett got 43 percent, or 685,964 votes.

Voters believe “I’m a lawyer first and a politician second,” Suthers said.

In an e-mail to supporters Tuesday night, Garnett said it had been a “tough night in Colorado for many Democrats, and we did not prove to be an exception. Still, I’m proud and happy that, by the current count, some 675,000 Coloradans agreed with me, and I know that my message was heard.”

The race between Suthers and Garnett included accusations by Garnett that Suthers was beholden to payday lenders. A Suthers campaign aide told The Statesman in September that Suthers had attended a fundraiser held for him by the payday lenders, a fundraiser that took place while his office was rewriting the rules governing the lenders. Suthers also was accused by his opponent of failing to protect the public from Scott Kimball, who had served as an FBI informant while Suthers was the U.S. Attorney for Colorado. Kimball was later convicted by Garnett in the homicides of four people. Suthers told The Denver Post he found the ad “despicable.”

Suthers fought back, charging in debates that Garnett was taking contributions from trial lawyers who have cases pending with the state.

Garnett was endorsed by the Boulder Daily Camera and a host of former governors, district attorneys and former Attorney General Ken Salazar. He entered the race relatively late in the election season, announcing his candidacy on April 7, prompted, he said, by Suthers’ decision to join in the lawsuit against the federal health insurance mandates.

Suthers raised $615,000 through November 1 for his reelection. That included nearly $12,000 in June and July from payday lenders, most which came as a result of the fundraiser. Garnett raised $319,000 and loaned his committee another $110,000.

Marianne@coloradostatesman.com