Election 2018Hot Sheet

Dougherty makes primary ballot by petition, will face Foote in Boulder DA race

Author: Ernest Luning - April 18, 2018 - Updated: April 18, 2018

Democratic attorney general candidate Michael Dougherty visits at the Denver Democratic Party’s annual Edward M. Kennedy dinner on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, at the Mariott Denver Downtown. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)

Democrat Michael Dougherty, the Boulder County district attorney, will be on the primary ballot for the seat after turning in a sufficient number of petition signatures, state officials said Wednesday.

Dougherty will face off in the June primary against state Rep. Mike Foote, D-Louisville, who won top line in the primary at the Boulder Democrats’ county assembly in March.

A former candidate for state attorney general, Dougherty was appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper to replace Stan Garnett, who stepped down after 10 years in office to take a job at his old law firm.

Dougherty and Foote were the two finalists for the job.

Because of the timing of the vacancy, there will be a special election in November to fill the remainder of Garnett’s four-year term, and the June primary will determine the Democratic nominee. No Republican has stepped forward to run for the seat.

It takes 1,000 valid signatures from fellow party members for major-party district attorney candidates to make the primary ballot. According to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, 1,305 of the 1,629 Dougherty submitted got the green light.

A spokesman for Dougherty said election officials offered the campaign the chance to “cure” most of the signatures that had been rejected, but the campaign opted against it because it was unnecessary to advance to the primary.

In a statement, veteran prosecutor Dougherty — he was the assistant DA for Jefferson and Gilpin counties before the appointment — said he was honored to be working in the criminal justice system and excited to be asking voters for their support.

“I am proud to be leading this office and the staff in enhancing public safety and advancing criminal justice reform,” Dougherty said. “We need to be proactive and creative in addressing the dramatic rise of felony filings in our county and supportive of our community. With the limited resources available to our office, my experience and leadership is critical to success and I am honored to serve as District Attorney every day.”

Dougherty worked in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for 12 years, including work as deputy chief of the Sex Crimes Unit, before moving to Colorado in 2010 to head up the state’s DNA Justice Review Project. Then-Attorney General John Suthers later named Dougherty to run the AG’s Criminal Justice Section. After that, Dougherty spent more than three years as the chief assistant prosecutor in the 1st Judicial District.

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.