Election 2018Hot Sheet

Bill Ritter throws support behind Weiser in Democrats’ attorney general primary

Author: Ernest Luning - May 15, 2018 - Updated: May 15, 2018

Former Gov. Bill Ritter walks outside his new office, where he directs the Center for the New Energy Economy, at Colorado State University in downtown Denver on June 6, 2016. (File photo by Bernard Grant/Colorado Politics)Bill Ritter, Jr.

Democratic state attorney general candidate Phil Weiser has won an endorsement from former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, his campaign announced Tuesday.

Weiser will help lead the state’s fight against climate change, said Ritter, director of Colorado State University’s Center for the New Energy Economy and the man who coined the phrase “new energy economy” while governor.

“Phil Weiser is an important leader in Colorado and will be a great attorney general. I have worked with Phil since 2005 and can attest to his legal mind, his leadership abilities, and his commitment to building a 21st century economy here in Colorado,” Ritter said in a statement.

“Climate change represents a pressing threat to our land, air, and water and we need our next attorney general to be a force for progress. Phil will be that attorney general, leading on clean energy technologies, promoting broadband, and fighting for opportunities for all Coloradans.”

Ritter was Denver’s district attorney before winning election to his one term as governor in 2006.

Weiser recalled in a statement that he campaigned for Ritter in 2006 and then co-chaired the new administration’s inaugural Innovation Council, which was tasked with “promoting access to broadband, building startup communities, and supporting a clean energy agenda.”

He added: “I am honored to have his support as I continue to work on these issues and campaign to be Colorado’s next attorney general.”

Weiser, a former dean of the University of Colorado Law School and a Justice Department official in the Obama administration, is running in the June 26 Democratic primary against state Rep. Joe Salazar of Thornton, a civil rights attorney with a history as an activist.

There’s only one Republican running for the seat — George Brauchler, the district attorney for Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties. The GOP incumbent, Cynthia Coffman, ended her campaign for re-election last fall to run for governor but then failed to qualify for the primary ballot.

Ritter is the seventh former statewide elected official to endorse Weiser, his campaign pointed out. The others are former Gov. Roy Romer; Ken Salazar, a former secretary of the interior, U.S. senator and attorney general; Tim Wirth, a former U.S. senator; Bernie Buescher, a former secretary of state; Gail Schoettler, a former lieutenant governor and state treasurer; and J.D. MacFarlane, a former attorney general.

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.