GOP attorney general primary to pit Coffman, Waller

BOULDER — It came as no surprise Saturday when Colorado Attorney General John Suthers decided finally to take sides on his successor.

Suthers, who at 10 years is the second-longest serving attorney general in the state’s history, gave the nomination speech for Cynthia Coffman.

Coffman, the wife of U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-4th, has served as Suthers’ chief lieutenant his entire time in that office.

That may have been why Coffman’s GOP rival, state Rep. Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs, came in second, though he still made the June primary ballot with barely enough votes — 30.74 percent — to force a primary race.

Candidates need 30 percent to make the ballot.

“I am ready to join Republican attorneys general to sue the federal government as often as it takes to stop their power grab,” Coffman said in her nomination speech at the Coors Events Center on the University of Colorado at Boulder campus. “I am ready to sue over private property rights, I am ready to sue over roads on federal lands, I am ready to sue on the 10th Amendment and the Second Amendment and every little part of the Constitution if that’s what it takes.”

The winner of that race will face Democrat Don Quick, who won his party’s nomination at the Democratic Party Assembly in Denver, which was occurring at the same time.

While Coffman focused on the job of attorney general, Waller attacked her, saying she would be a “passive” attorney general. He accused her of standing by and doing nothing when Obamacare was implemented and Democratic senators were being recalled.

As chief deputy attorney general under Suthers, she had no power or authority to act on either.

“We need an attorney general who has a proven record of standing up to the liberal agenda,” Waller said. “Unfortunately in this race, my opponent refused to and because of that, a narrow majority of Colorado lawmakers passed the implementation of Obamacare in this state.”

The former House minority leader later said he was “frustrated” when some county party chairs handed out ballots before they were supposed to, and delegates started voting before he even gave his nomination speech.

Waller, who was the last candidate to speak at the assembly, said he watched as those delegates cast their ballots right in front of the center stage were he was talking.

He said he lodged a complaint with GOP Party Chairman Ryan Call, who allowed a motion from the assembly to destroy those ballots and start again.

A preponderance of delegates, however, rejected it.

“It absolutely is frustrating,” he said. “Most of the people were concerned about top-of-the-ticket races, and they had already heard all those people speak. So I don’t think there was a whole lot of thought put into it.”

Also nominated were Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton for re-election, and El Paso County Clerk Wayne Williams as secretary of state. Both ran unopposed.

They will face former congresswoman Betsy Markey and University of Colorado Regent Joe Neguse, respectively.


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