Chief deputy aims to become state’s top cop
Cynthia Coffman, the number two lawyer in the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, announced her bid Wednesday to replace her term-limited boss, John Suthers.
Coffman, the wife of U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, a Republican who represents Colorado’s 6th Congressional District in Aurora, has been working in the AG’s office for the past eight years.
Though this is her first bid for elected office, the Republican said it’s always been her dream to serve as the state’s chief lawyer.
“This is a job I have wanted since I was in high school,” the 52-year-old Coffman said. “It’s a long-term goal for me, and this is the time. If I’m ever going to do it, the opportunity to follow John would certainly be an honor. Of all the jobs that I would want to do next, this is the one.”
A native Missourian and graduate of the Georgia State University law school, Coffman came to Colorado in the late-1990s, first as the chief staffer for the Senate Judiciary Committee.
She later went to work for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment as its first director of legal and regulatory affairs, and later became chief legal counsel for former Gov. Bill Owens.
Suthers tapped her as his chief deputy not long after he was appointed to serve as attorney general when former Attorney General Ken Salazar left the post in 2005 when he was elected to the U.S. Senate.
Coffman said that while she and Suthers don’t agree on everything, she would continue to run the office much as he has.
“I would hope to continue the legacy because I have a great deal of respect for the way that John has run the office, and so do the people who work here,” she said. “Whatever their political affiliation, the support he has in this office is really unprecedented.”
Unlike other races that generally attract more attention, such as the U.S. Senate and governor’s office, the attorney general’s race historically doesn’t get a lot of attention.
But because the seat will be an open one — Suthers is term-limited and cannot run again — Coffman expects the race to gain some national attention, and national money.
To date, only one other person has announced plans to run, former Adams County District Attorney Don Quick, a Democrat.
Regardless, though, others are expected to enter the fray from both sides of the aisle.
House Minority Leader Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs, is expected to announce his bid for the seat in the next two weeks, forcing a primary with Coffman.