Waller will run for attorney general
DENVER — Sounding more like he was running for governor, House Minority Leader Mark Waller announced his bid Monday to succeed John Suthers as attorney general.
In his announcement made at the University of Denver School of Law, the Colorado Springs Republican talked about the state’s unemployment rate, federal mandates and the Legislature’s approval of controversial gun measures as part of his reasons for seeking the office.
Waller criticized Democratic legislators for accepting telephone calls while on the House floor from Vice President Joe Biden, who was encouraging them to approve two gun measures that went into effect Monday.
At the time, lawmakers were discussing bills to require background checks on all gun purchases and limit the size of gun magazines.
“It was incredibly disappointing in the Legislature this year to see East Coast politicians drive our agenda,” Waller said.
“It’s completely unacceptable that these East Coast politicians from New York and Washington, D.C., can come to Colorado and not only tell us what to do with our guns, and not only tell us how many bullets we can have in our guns to protect ourselves, but they also tell us when and where we can cut down beetle-killed trees.”
Waller, who’s serving his third term in the Colorado House, said as attorney general, he also would help businesses cut government regulations and help to get tort laws to protect them from frivolous lawsuits.
The attorney general’s office has little control over either because such issues are the purview of the governor’s office and Legislature.
The announcement starts a primary battle for the GOP nomination for the chance to replace Suthers, who is term-limited and cannot run again.
He will face Cynthia Coffman, chief deputy attorney general, in a primary. Coffman, the wife of U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, has served in that job for the past nine years.
The winner of that primary will face Democrat Don Quick, who was the Adams County district attorney until term limits prevented him from running again last year.
Last week, Senator Majority Leader Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, announced she would not seek the job, clearing the way for Quick to get his party’s nomination without a primary.
Waller is a former deputy district attorney in Pueblo and an attorney in the Judge Advocate General’s office of the U.S. Air Force.
Waller came into the Legislature in 2009 after defeating controversial former Rep. Douglas Bruce, R-Colorado Springs, who only served one year in the House.
Last year, Waller was chosen by his fellow Republicans in the House to be its minority leader, a job he now is expected to resign.
He and his wife, Jennifer, have two children.