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.