Rep. Joe Salazar announces run for Colorado attorney general

Author: Joey Bunch - March 10, 2017 - Updated: July 8, 2017

State Rep. Joe Salazar, a bulldog on civil rights and fixture at protest rallies, will be a candidate for attorney general next year. He filed his campaign committee paperwork with the Secretary of State’s Office Friday morning.

The Democrat from Thornton had considered a run for governor.

As a civil rights attorney in the era of Donald Trump, however, he said his interests and talents are in fighting the administration’s potential abuses.

“My platform is to protect Coloradans, which is what I’ve always done here with the state of Colorado as a legislator and as well as a civil rights attorney and before that a community activist,” Salazar said outside the Capitol building.

“I’ve always been about protecting Coloradans.”

Incumbent Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, a Republican, is considered a potential candidate for governor next year, but could seek another term as the state’s top prosecutor.

Coffman’s signature political achievement in office (besides seeking to remove state Republican Party chairman Steve House) has been fighting President Obama’s climate-change policies.

“That’s why people live here in the great state of Colorado, because of our environment,” Salazar said outside the Capitol, lifting his palms toward the mountains to the west. “I’m going to protect our environment and make sure we have clean water and clear air for our kids and our grandkids.”

He said there would be plenty he could do as attorney general to oppose the Trump administration.

He pointed to attorneys general in Washington and Hawaii who have successfully opposed “his massive overreach and the unconstitutional way he’s been operating as a president.”

Salazar, leader of a maverick coalition called the Doghouse Dems, is often in the doghouse with fellow Democrats and is a thorn in the side of Republicans on LGBTQ rights, homeless camping and immigration.

Salazar was elected to the House in 2012, with more than 60 percent of the vote, over Beth Martinez Humenik, who is now a state senator. In 2014, he squeaked by in his re-election, winning by just 221 votes, then rebounded to an 11-point win last November.

Running for attorney general would prevent Salazar from running for re-election for the competitive northern metro Denver district that Republicans have felt they could win the last two election cycles.

This session Democrats have a 37-28 majority in the House.

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.


  • Robert Chase

    March 10, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    If only Salazar weren’t a Collaborationist (Democrat), I might be able to bring myself to vote for him — except for the fact that he was one of the near-unanimous majority who reinstituted felony penalties for cannabis in 2013, making it up to a level 1 drug felony (the most serious crime which can be committed with drugs under State law), all sales across most of Colorado felonies (where dispensaries are not licensed in Colorado, every purchase of cannabis involves a felony crime), and the cultivation of just seven (7) plants for personal use a felony. See SB13-250 and C.R.S. 18-18-406 and realize just how far the General Assembly went to contradict constitutional protections for the use of cannabis immediately after the People thought they had legalized it. The General Assembly has only become more and more obsessed with cannabis as time goes on, introducing more bills mentioning “marijuana” every session. No one now associated with State government is fit to serve even as a municipal dogcatcher.


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