John W. Suthers

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John Suthers
John Suthers.jpg
Mayor of Colorado Springs
Elections and appointments
Last electionMay 19, 2015
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Attorney General of Colorado
2005 - January 13, 2015
U.S. Attorney for District of Colorado
Executive Director, Colorado Dept of Corrections
High schoolSt. Mary's High School (1970)
Bachelor'sUniversity of Notre Dame (1974)
J.D.University of Colorado Law School (1977)
Date of birthOctober 18, 1951
Place of birthDenver, Colorado
John Suthers (b. October 18, 1951) is the mayor-elect of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Suthers is the former Republican Attorney General of Colorado. He was appointed to the position in 2005 by Governor Bill Owens following the election of Ken Salazar to the United States Senate.

Suthers officially assumed the role on January 4, 2005, after Salazar left office. He was elected to a full term in November 2006 and was re-elected in 2010. Suthers was term-limited from running for a third term in 2014.

Before becoming attorney general, Suthers served from July 2001 to January 2005 as U.S. Attorney for Colorado. He was executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections from 1999 to 2001 and senior counsel at the Colorado Springs, CO firm of Sparks Dix, P.C. from 1997 to 1999. Additionally, Suthers was district attorney for Colorado's 4th Judicial District from 1988 to 1997.[1]


Immediately upon graduating from law school, Suthers occupied the dual roles of Deputy and Chief Deputy District Attorney in Colorado Springs. He remained in those roles until 1981. From 1979 to 1981, he headed the Economic Crime Division of the District Attorney's Office. In 1981, Suthers became a litigation partner in the Colorado Springs-based private practice law firm, Sparxs Dix, P.C., where he stayed until 1988. He co-authored Fraud and Deceit: How to Stop Being Ripped Off, a book about consumer fraud and white-collar crime, in 1982.

  • President, El Paso County Bar Association (1990-1991)
  • Colorado Delegate, National Conference on Uniform State Laws (1992-1997)
  • President, Colorado District Attorney's Council (1994-1995)
  • Senior Vice President, Colorado Bar Association (1996-1997)


  • Graduated from St. Mary's High School (1970)
  • Bachelor's degree, University of Notre Dame (1974) in government
  • Juris Doctorate degree, University of Colorado Law School (1977)
  • Certificate in Government Executives Program, Harvard University (2000)

Political career

Colorado Attorney General (2005-2015)

As Colorado Attorney General, Suthers' top priorities were criminal justice and consumer protection. He launched a Safe Surfing Initiative to protect children from online predators.[2] Legislation backed by Suthers made it a crime in Colorado to solicit a child online for a meeting. In the first two years of implementation, 250 alleged pedophiles were arrested on the new charges.[3] In 2005, he also convened a Mortgage and Foreclosure Fraud Task Force to study the state's burgeoning foreclosure problems. As attorney general, he backed legislation that sought to reduce appraisal fraud and criminalize unscrupulous foreclosure consulting.

During the 2008 legislative session, Suthers spearheaded two consumer protection initiatives. Senate Bill 77, dubbed the "Hannah Montana Bill," would criminalize the use of software to circumvent online ticket sales limits. The second measure would have banned most robocalls in the state of Colorado. Despite being heavily favored by Colorado citizens, the measure was quickly defeated by the legislative committee. Suthers served as co-chair of the National Association of Attorneys General criminal law committee. He also acted as one of four attorneys general on United States Attorney General Michael Mukasey's Executive Working Group on Prosecutorial Relations, a group composed of federal, state and local prosecutors from across the United States.

Healthcare reform

See also: State Attorneys General Against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010

In the wake of the historic passage of President Barack Obama's health care reform legislation on Christmas Eve in 2009, Suthers joined fourteen other state attorneys general in questioning not only the constitutionality of a specific controversial provision within the Senate version of the bill, but also exploring potential legal challenges to the measure as well. The stipulation in question was the back room deal Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid struck with Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson to recruit him as the 60th vote needed to pass the measure, an arrangement "dubbed the 'Nebraska Compromise' or the 'Cornhusker Kickback' by Republican critics." The agreement gave Nebraska exemption from its share of the Medicaid expansion, "a carve out that is expected to cost the federal government $100 million over 10 years."[4][5]

On the same morning President Barack Obama signed into law his controversial health care reform measure, House Resolution 3590 - The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the one that narrowly passed the United States House of Representatives just two days before, Suthers and 12 other state attorneys general, all but one of them being Republican, filed suit against "the federal government to stop the massive health care overhaul, claiming it's unconstitutional."[6] Suthers contended that the newly enacted health care law, in particular the "individual mandate" that requires citizens to purchase health insurance, "violates constitutional principles and lacks constitutional authority."[7]

Illegal immigration

Nearly two weeks after Governor of Arizona Jan Brewer (R) signed into law the controversial anti-illegal immigration law, Senate Bill 1070 - The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (SB 1070), Suthers refused to get his state involved in the fight against the federal government. Though he has said he believed that wave of illegal aliens coming into the country was a problem, Suther did not feel that "criminalizing immigration status on the state level is going to accomplish" anything.[8] Additionally, Suthers contended that the liberal make-up of the courts would "hold that states cannot criminalize immigration status" and that any fight in court over the matter would be fruitless.[9]

Presidential preference


See also: Endorsements by state officials of presidential candidates in the 2012 election

John W. Suthers endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. [10]

U.S. Attorney for District of Colorado (2001-2005)

Suthers was appointed in August 2001 as United States Attorney for the District of Colorado by President George W. Bush, being subsequently confirmed by the United States Senate unanimously.

Executive Director, Dept of Corrections (1999-2001)

In 1999, Suthers was appointed by Governor Bill Owens as Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections.

District Attorney (1988-1999)

Suthers was elected District Attorney for the Fourth Judicial District in 1988 and was subsequently re-elected.


Campaign themes

Candidates for Mayor of Colorado Springs each published an essay in the Colorado Springs Gazette outlining their background and plan for the city. To read those essays, click here.



See also: Colorado Springs, Colorado municipal elections, 2015

The city of Colorado Springs, Colorado held elections for mayor and city council on April 7, 2015. A runoff election took place on May 19, 2015.[11] The filing deadline for candidates who wished to run in this election was February 11, 2015.[12]

In the general election for mayor, candidates Mary Lou Makepeace and John Suthers advanced past Tony Carpenter, Amy Lathen, Lawrence Martinez and Joel Miller.[13][14] Suthers defeated Makepeace in a runoff election on May 19, 2015.[15] Incumbent Steve Bach did not run for re-election.[16]

Mayor of Colorado Springs, 2015
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Suthers 46.5% 40,900
Green check mark transparent.pngMary Lou Makepeace 23.6% 20,783
Joel Miller 15.7% 13,794
Amy Lathen 11.8% 10,352
Lawrence Martinez 1.3% 1,125
Tony Carpenter 1.2% 1,048
Total Votes 88,002
Source: City of Colorado Springs - Official general election results


See also: Colorado Attorney General election, 2010
  • 2010 Race for Attorney General - Republican Primary
  • John Suthers ran unopposed in this contest
  • 2010 Race for Attorney General - General Election
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 Race for Attorney General - Republican Primary
    • John Suthers ran unopposed
  • 2006 Race for Attorney General - General Election
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

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Suthers is available dating back to 2010. Based on available campaign finance records, Suthers raised a total of $1,383,402 during that time period. This information was last updated on July 8, 2013.[17]

John W. Suthers's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2010 Attorney General of Colorado Won $597,576
2008 Attorney General of Colorado Not up for election $26,530
2006 Attorney General of Colorado Won $521,449
1998 Attorney General of Colorado Defeated $237,847
Grand Total Raised $1,383,402

2006 and 2010

Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of John Suthers's donors each year.[18] Click [show] for more information.


Suthers currently resides in Colorado Springs with his wife, Janet. The couple has two daughters together - Alison, a lawyer, and Kate, a United States Naval Officer. Suthers is also a practicing Roman Catholic.[1]

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See also

External links

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The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine was used to recall this version of the website from October 11, 2010.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Colorado Attorney General's Office, "John W. Suthers Biography," accessed July 13, 2011
  2. Safe Surfing Initiative - Colorado Attorney General's Office website
  3. Online Luring Legislation - Colorado Attorney General's Office website
  4. Politico, "GOP AGs may sue over health bill" 24 Dec. 2009
  5. TPM "GOP AGs Escalate Constitutional Battle Against Health Bill" 31 Dec. 2009
  6. Associated Press, "13 attorneys general sue over health care overhaul" 23 March, 2010
  7. The Huffington Post, "Colorado Healthcare Backlash: AG John Suthers To Challenge Bill; Right Wingers Go To Ballot" 22 March, 2010
  8. The Denver Daily News, "Attorney General speaks out on Ariz. law" 5 May, 2010
  9. Times Call, "AG Suthers questions constitutionality of Arizona immigration crackdown" 5 May, 2010 (dead link)
  10. Mitt Romney for President, "Mitt Romney Announces Support of Minnesota Leaders," February 4, 2012 (dead link)
  11. The Gazette, "Colorado Springs election results updated; Suthers, Makepeace headed to runoff for mayor," April 8, 2015
  12. City of Colorado Springs, "City Elections," accessed September 19, 2014
  13. City of Colorado Springs, "Official 2015 Candidate List," accessed on February 12, 2015
  14. City of Colorado Springs, "Unofficial election results," accessed April 8, 2015
  15. Colorado Springs, "Mayoral Runoff Election," accessed on May 19, 2015
  16. Denver Post, "Former AG John Suthers wants to run the city he grew up in," January 25, 2015
  17. Follow the Money, "Career financing for John Suthers," accessed July 8, 2013
  18. Follow the, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015
Political offices
Preceded by
Ken Salazar (D)
Colorado Attorney General
Succeeded by
Cynthia Coffman (R)