Colorado Attorney General election, 2014

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Colorado Attorney General Election

Primary Date:
June 24, 2014

General Election Date:
November 4, 2014

November 4 Election Winner:
Cynthia Coffman Republican Party
Incumbent prior to election:
John W. Suthers Republican Party
John Suthers.jpg

Colorado State Executive Elections
Top Ballot
Governor Lieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney General
Down Ballot
Treasurer

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The Colorado Attorney General election took place on November 4, 2014. Republican Cynthia Coffman defeated Democrat Don Quick and Libertarian David K. Williams to win the race to replace term-limited incumbent John W. Suthers as attorney general. Suthers, a fellow Republican, was first appointed to the position in 2005 and won election to two full terms, in 2006 and 2010.

Colorado is one of 21 states with a mixed primary system. The primary is considered closed, but unaffiliated voters may choose to affiliate with a party on election day in order to vote.[1] The attorney general, secretary of state and state treasurer positions did not have contested primaries in 2014, and a single contested primary, for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, appeared on the June 24 primary ballot. Three of the five state executives sought re-election in 2014, while Suthers and Secretary of State Scott Gessler, a fellow Republican, retired, leaving their seats open.

This election developed into a competitive race between Cynthia Coffman (R), Don Quick (D) and David K. Williams (L). Jump to our polls section to review polling in the race, or learn more about past elections for attorney general in the past elections section.

Candidates

General election

Democratic Party Don Quick - Former District Attorney, 17th Judicial District[2][3]
Republican Party Cynthia Coffman - Deputy Attorney General[2][4]
Libertarian Party David K. Williams[5]

Results

Attorney General of Colorado, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngCynthia Coffman 51.6% 988,186
     Democratic Don Quick 42.3% 810,015
     Libertarian David K. Williams 6.2% 118,165
Total Votes 1,916,366
Election Results via Colorado Secretary of State. Vote totals above are unofficial and reflect 100% precincts reporting.

Race background

Originally appointed in 2005 to fill a vacancy in the office, outgoing Republican Colorado Attorney General John Suthers went on to win two full terms in 2006 and 2010. He was barred by term limits from running for a third consecutive term, leaving the attorney general seat open in the 2014 elections.

The seat was first marked as "vulnerable" to partisan switch in a March 2013 report Governing put together about the 2014 attorney general elections.[6] In December, the same publication rated the race a "tossup." Out of a total of 31 attorney general seats up for election nationwide in 2014, only four received this rating, including Colorado. The others were Arizona, Arkansas and Wisconsin.[7] Against the backdrop of Colorado's "purple" partisan landscape, statewide races are flagged as competitive early on because major party organizations and other interests get involved in order to exert influence over state government.

In this case, Democratic Party forces placed their faith and money in the campaign of Don Quick, a career prosecutor whom Governing called "a strong contender to flip the seat."[6] Quick previously served as District Attorney for the 17th Judicial District, which includes Adams County, and spent six years as deputy attorney general under Suthers' predecessor, Democrat Ken Salazar.[8][2]

Also vying to succeed Suthers as Colorado's chief legal officer was Republican contender Cynthia Coffman. Coffman served as chief deputy under Suthers. Coffman's husband, Mike Coffman (R), is a three-term U.S. Representative from Colorado's 6th Congressional District and a former Colorado Secretary of State.[9][2] Like Quick, she had the connections and access to deep pockets necessary for running a legitimate statewide campaign.

Quick and Coffman were uncontested for their respective party nominations in the June 24 primary and advanced automatically to the general election. Libertarian attorney and party activist David K. Williams was the only third party candidate on the November ballot. Coffman won the general election on November 4, 2014.

Money in the race

The Republican Attorney Generals Association spent $2.6 million on Coffman's campaign as of September. Quick was operating on less than one-quarter of that amount, and he tried to compensate for the relative funding shortage by "walking 2.6 miles a day in campaigning."[10]

Campaign themes

Public Corruption

The attorney general needs the ability to investigate and prosecute public corruption. [11]

—Cynthia Coffman[12]

If elected, I will develop a public corruption prosecution unit within the office that will assist local jurisdictions with their corruption prosecutions and help restore the public trust in our government.[11]

—Don Quick[13]

One of my top priorities is to investigate and prosecute government corruption. [11]

—David K. Williams[14]

Death penalty

After a conviction and death sentence, the state’s criminal appellate attorneys defend the legal process that resulted in capital punishment. In the case of Chuck E. Cheese killer Nathan Dunlap, the Governor decided to grant a guilty defendant a reprieve from the death penalty, a decision I vehemently oppose. When I am Attorney General, I will advocate for the death penalty as a suitable punishment for certain heinous crimes against the citizens of our state. And I will do all I can to assure the will of the people is carried out as prescribed by law[11]

—Cynthia Coffman[15]

[Nathan Dunlap] has received 20 years of due process, from both the state and federal courts, so I think the jury made their decision with Mr. Dunlap, and he has had all the protections of state and federal courts for the last 20 years, so I think the death penalty is appropriate for him.[11]

—Don Quick[16]

Unlike any of my other opponents running for Attorney General, I am against the death penalty. Because the execution process is flawed in many areas, I cannot in good conscious allow an execution where the prisoner could later be found innocent. As Attorney General, I will fight to uphold those sentenced to capital punishment to be stayed from execution. [11]

—David K. Williams[17]

School Safety

Some of our country’s leading school safety experts live here in Colorado and have partnered with the Attorney General’s Office to provide training and programming for school administrators, teachers, and law enforcement officers. I look forward to growing this community outreach effort as your next Attorney General.[11]

—Cynthia Coffman[18]

Over the last 15 years, I have worked with schools and law enforcement agencies to create safer schools by keeping guns and gangs out of schools, implementing anti-bullying policies, facilitating early and appropriate intervention through information sharing, and establishing Safe 2 Tell, an anonymous call system allowing kids and their parents to report potential dangers. I will continue to focus on creating safe schools as your next Attorney General.[11]

—Don Quick[19]

Environment, Energy

If elected as your Attorney General, I will continue to take legal action and fight back when local jurisdictions break the law with their attempts to ban hydraulic fracturing. In those instances when interest groups and local governments try to usurp authority from law-abiding landowners and individuals in the oil and gas industry, I will enforce the law – even if it means taking overreaching, anti-drilling jurisdictions to court.[11]

—Cynthia Coffman[20]

As your next Attorney General, I will strengthen and expand our efforts to protect all of Colorado’s natural resources. I will make protection of our land, water and wildlife one of my top priorities. Protecting our environment and protecting Colorado’s energy economy are not mutually exclusive goals. To the best of my ability, I will use non-judicial methods to resolve natural resource disputes by bringing diverse interests to the negotiating table and supplying sound legal advice.[11]

—Don Quick[21]

Polls

Colorado Attorney General - 2014 General Election
Poll Cynthia Coffman (R) Don Quick (D)David K. Williams (L)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Gravis Marketing
July 8-10, 2014
42%38%9%11%+/-3.01,106
Public Policy Polling
July 17-20, 2014
38%29%0%32%+/-3.8653
Suffolk University
September 9-16, 2014
40%30%4.8%25.2%+/-4.4500
AVERAGES 40% 32.33% 4.6% 22.73% +/-3.73 753
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.

**Due to the nature of the comparison, a placeholder figure of 0% is assigned to candidates not included in any given match-up round

Past elections

Margin of victory analysis

The average margin of victory in the past three races for attorney general was 14 percent. The smallest margin of victory was 9.1 percent in 2006, while the largest margin of victory was 20.2 percent in 2002. Percentages of votes for third-party candidates decreased from 4.4 percent in 2002 to 4.2 percent in 2006. The following chart compares the margin of victory for winners of attorney general races with the margin of victory for candidates who won the most votes for the top race on the ballot:[22]

Margin of victory analysis
Year AG candidate margin of victory (%) Party of winning candidate Top race on ballot Party of winning candidate Margin of victory (%)
2010 12.7 Republican Party Governor of Colorado Democratic Party 14.5
2006 9.1 Republican Party Governor of Colorado Democratic Party 16.8
2002 20.2 Democratic Party Governor of Colorado Republican Party 28.9

2010

See also: Colorado Attorney General election, 2010
Colorado Attorney General, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Suthers Incumbent 56.3% 960,995
     Democratic Stan Garnett 43.7% 744,601
Total Votes 1,705,596

2006

Colorado Attorney General, 2006
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Suthers 52.4% 789,034
     Democratic Fern O'Brien 43.4% 652,268
     Libertarian Dwight K. Harding 4.2% 63,122
Total Votes 1,504,424

2002

Colorado Attorney General, 2002
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngKen Salazar Incumbent 57.9% 803,200
     Republican Marti Allbright 37.7% 522,281
     Green Alison "Sunny" Maynard 2.5% 35,301
     Libertarian Dwight K. Harding 1.9% 26,023
Total Votes 1,386,805

Key deadlines

Deadline Event
March 31, 2014 Filing deadline (Primary, all parties)
June 24, 2014 Primary election
July 10, 2014 Filing deadline (General, Independents)
July 17, 2014 Filing deadline (General, Write-ins)
November 4, 2014 General election
November 21, 2014 Last day to complete the canvass for the general election
January 13, 2015 Inauguration day for state executive officials in general election

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Colorado + attorney + general + election"

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Colorado Attorney General Election News Feed

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See also

External links

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Suggest a link

Campaign links

Cynthia Coffman:

Campaign Facebook
Campaign Twitter

Don Quick:

Campaign Facebook
Campaign Twitter

David K. Williams:

Campaign Facebook
Campaign Twitter

References

  1. Colorado Revised Statutes, "Title 1, Article 7, Section 201, Voting at primary election," accessed January 2, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 The Denver Post, "Democrat Don Quick, former DA, to run for Colorado attorney general," February 12, 2013
  3. Don Quick for Colorado Attorney General 2014 Official Campaign Website, "Homepage," accessed September 3, 2013
  4. Cynthia Coffman for Colorado Attorney General 2014 Official Campaign Website, "Homepage," accessed September 3, 2013
  5. The Libertarian Party of Colorado's Facebook page, "Congratulations to our 2014 Libertarian Party candidates for the State of Colorado," accessed April 7, 2014
  6. 6.0 6.1 Governing, "The 2013-2014 Attorneys General Races: Who's Vulnerable?," March 25, 2013
  7. Governing, "What's Ahead for the Attorney General Races in 2014?," December 19, 2013
  8. Broomfield Democrats, "17th J.D. District Attorney: Don Quick ," accessed February 13, 2013
  9. Cynthia Coffman for Colorado Attorney General 2014 Official Campaign Website, "Homepage," accessed September 3, 2013
  10. The Post Independent, "AG candidates want state unit to fight public theft," September 6, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 11.8 11.9 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  12. The Post Independent, "AG candidates want state unit to fight public theft," September 6, 2014
  13. Don Quick for Attorney General 2014 Official campaign website, "Fighting Public Corruption," accessed October 5, 2014
  14. David K. Williams for Attorney General 2014 Official campaign website, "Government Corruption," accessed October 5, 2014
  15. Cynthia Coffman for Attorney General 2014 Official campaign website, "Issues: The Courtroom," accessed October 5, 2014
  16. Canon City Daily Record, "Colorado Attorney General candidate Don Quick: Job about doing the right thing," accessed October 5, 2014
  17. David K. Williams for Attorney General 2014 Official campaign website, "Death Penalty," accessed October 5, 2014
  18. Cynthia Coffman for Attorney General 2014 Official campaign website, "Issues: The Classroom," accessed October 5, 2014
  19. Don Quick for Attorney General 2014 Official campaign website, "Why I'm Running," accessed October 5, 2014
  20. Cynthia Coffman for Attorney General 2014 Official campaign website, "Issues: The Boardroom," accessed October 5, 2014
  21. Don Quick for Attorney General 2014 Official campaign website, "Why I'm Running," accessed October 5, 2014
  22. Colorado Secretary of State, "Election Results Archives Information," accessed September 30, 2014