Election 2018News

Democrat Michael Dougherty kicks off campaign for Boulder County district attorney

Author: Ernest Luning - February 27, 2018 - Updated: February 27, 2018

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Michael DoughertyDemocratic attorney general candidate Michael Dougherty, a Jefferson and Gilpin county prosecutor, listens as the moderator asks a question at a candidate forum sponsored by DemEnterCO on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, at the Wheat Ridge Grange in Wheat Ridge. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)

Days after learning he’d been appointed to the office and just a week before precinct caucuses, Democrat Michael Dougherty, a former candidate for attorney general, declared Tuesday he’s running for Boulder County district attorney.

Gov. John Hickenlooper last week named Dougherty to replace Stan Garnett, who is stepping down after 10 years in office to take a job at his old law firm.

Dougherty, the assistant district attorney for Jefferson and Gilpin counties, already has a Democratic primary opponent — state Rep. Mike Foote, D-Lafayette, the other finalist for the appointment, who filed to run for the office earlier this month.

“I am happy to announce that I have filed paperwork with the secretary of state’s office to run in the election for Boulder County district attorney,” Dougherty said in a statement.

“I look forward to serving the residents of Boulder County for many years to come. I met with the staff last week and I am excited about the future of our office. Having been a leader in three public law offices, I know how important the transition is for the staff and the community, and I am working closely with Stan Garnett to ensure a seamless process. I am committed to working hard to maintain and improve upon the office’s record on public safety and progressive criminal justice reform.”

Dougherty was one of five Democrats who had been running to replace outgoing Attorney General Cynthia Coffman — a Republican candidate for governor — until suspending his campaign to apply for the vacancy.

Dougherty can get on the June primary ballot two ways: going through the caucus and assembly process, which kicks off Tuesday at precinct caucuses, or gathering 1,000 valid petition signatures from Boulder County Democrats, which would be due March 20.

His campaign manger, Daniel Aschkinasi, told Colorado Politics Dougherty “hasn’t ruled any option out.” He added, “We are confident that Michael’s name will be on the ballot this June and again in November.”

Foote has said he intends to get on the ballot by winning the support of at least 30 percent of delegates to the 20th Judicial District assembly later in March.

“An election is an opportunity to go door-to-door and have real discussions with members of the community,” Dougherty said. “I look forward to talking about my experience as a leader and my vision for the district attorney’s office, and answering questions about the future of our criminal justice system.”

After working in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for 12 years — including as deputy chief of the Sex Crimes Unit — Dougherty moved to Colorado in 2010 to head up the Colorado DNA Justice Review Project under then-Attorney General John Suthers, who later tapped him to head the attorney general’s Criminal Justice Section. Dougherty has been 1st Judicial District Attorney Pete Weir’s chief assistant prosecutor since 2014.

Dougherty is scheduled to be sworn in as district attorney Thursday morning.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.