Update: A previous version of this article misstated the number of contested district attorney races. There are seven, which includes the Second Judicial District in which a Democratic and Libertarian candidate are running.
There are 22 judicial districts in the state, each with a district attorney elected on a partisan basis. The DA’s office decides whether to pursue criminal charges and prosecutes criminal infractions of state law within their jurisdiction. District attorneys, who also decide whether to charge police officers who kill or injure individuals, have received increased scrutiny following a summer of racial justice protests. However, in Colorado, the vast majority — 15 — of the DA races have only one candidate running.
1st Judicial District (Gilpin, Jefferson)
Matthew Durkin (R) is chief deputy district attorney and first began working in the office as an intern in 1996. He also served as a deputy attorney general for Colorado, heading the Criminal Justice Section. Durkin is skeptical of lowering or eliminating penalties for drug crimes because it could perpetuate addiction. It is a priority of his to reduce crime by cutting recidivism.
Alexis King (D) served as a deputy district attorney for more than a decade, where she led the Juvenile and Human Trafficking units. Her other experience includes being a magistrate, the Title IX attorney at the Rocky Mountain Victim Law Center, and participating in the Colorado Human Trafficking Council in 2016. King believes that "over-incarceration" of nonviolent offenders is a detriment to the individual and an ineffective use of tax dollars.
Both candidates are seeking to succeed Peter Weir (R).
2nd Judicial District (Denver)
Beth McCann (D) is the incumbent. She served for eight years as a state representative and was previously a chief deputy district attorney. McCann also worked in the state attorney general’s office on civil litigation and employment law. Her goals as DA have been to increase community engagement and transparency, and to make child abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse and human trafficking prosecutions a priority.
William F. Robinson III (L) has four decades of experience practicing criminal defense, domestic and civil law. He would end "overcharging" of defendants, which induces them to take plea bargains for lesser crimes. Robinson advocates against public sector unions in general, including for police, and would investigate cost overruns on city projects such as Denver International Airport or the National Western Complex.
3rd Judicial District (Huerfano, Las Animas)
Henry L. Solano (D) is the incumbent who previously worked as the U.S. Attorney for Colorado. He also served in the Clinton Administration as solicitor for the U.S. Department of Labor and as an assistant Colorado attorney general. Solano has talked about a need to increase his office's funding to prevent cases from being dismissed due to lack of prosecution resources.
4th Judicial District (El Paso, Teller)
Michael Allen (R) will succeed Dan May (R). He served in the U.S. Navy and has worked since 2011 in the DA’s office. He is currently the senior deputy district attorney who says he has “put every murderer away that I’ve faced in court.” Allen is in favor of preventing those convicted of attempted sex crimes from removing themselves in the sex offender registry and is skeptical of the extreme risk protection order, or “red flag,” law.
5th Judicial District (Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake, Summit)
Heidi McCollum (D) will succeed incumbent Bruce Brown (D). She began working for the DA's office in 2013 and has overseen the administration and budget of the office. McCollum's priorities include prosecution of financial and technological scams that take advantage of elderly and immigrant populations, and expanding investigations of welfare fraud.
6th Judicial District (Archuleta, La Plata, San Juan)
Christian Champagne (D) is the incumbent who also worked as a public defender in his career. In his first election, he indicated he would pursue greater alternatives to incarceration and bring more cases to trial, which he has reiterated for his reelection.
7th Judicial District (Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, San Miguel)
Seth D. Ryan (R) is the chief deputy district attorney who will succeed Dan Hotsenpiller (D). He leads the special victims crime unit, primarily targeting sex offenses against adults and children. Ryan's platform includes mentoring attorneys in the office through in-house training and education, and to balance justice for the accused with justice for victims.
8th Judicial District (Jackson, Larimer)
Mitch Murray (R) is the assistant district attorney, who helps administer the budget and a staff of 80 people. He began as a deputy district attorney and served in the Special Victims Unit on sex crimes cases against adults and children. Murray worked with the Colorado Best Practices Committee to craft model procedures for eyewitness identification, body-worn cameras and recording of interrogations. He pledges to advance public safety goals by recognizing which defendants are a danger to the public.
Gordon McLaughlin (D) is a deputy district attorney who was also the lead prosecutor for the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force. He previously worked as a deputy district attorney in Eagle County. McLaughlin is campaigning on increased diversion of low-level, nonviolent offenders to reduce recidivism. He would like to see an increased reliance on data to direct which pre-trial defendants may be released on supervision, and to stop "overcharging" crimes, i.e. through felony charges for minor offenses.
Both candidates are seeking to succeed Clifford E. Riedel (R).
9th Judicial District (Garfield, Pitkin, Rio Blanco)
Jefferson J. Cheney (R) is the incumbent who served as a prosecutor for more than a decade and an Army soldier. In his first election, he criticized the incumbent for being too reliant on plea agreements for fear of losing a trial.
10th Judicial District (Pueblo)
Jeff Chostner (D) is the incumbent who previously served as Pueblo County commissioner. Prior to that, he was a Pueblo city council member, attorney in private practice and member of the U.S. Air Force's Judge Advocate General’s Department.
11th Judicial District (Chaffee, Custer, Fremont, Park)
Kaitlin Turner (D) is the incumbent appointed in 2019 following the resignation of her predecessor. She was a Cañon City councilwoman and former civil defense attorney who worked for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Turner's prior work experience also included being a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney and a clerk for the Colorado Court of Appeals. She has committed to finding more cost-effective ways of operating the office and prioritizing resources for crimes that most affect public safety.
Linda Stanley (R) has worked as a hearing officer for the Colorado Department of Revenue and as a municipal prosecutor in Pueblo. Prior to that, she was a deputy district attorney in the 10th Judicial District. Stanley supports hiring a full-time grant-writer to help fund a cold case unit and a critical incident team. She has also suggested appearing by teleconference in far-reaching portions of the district to save on travel costs. In 2019, Stanley received a censure related to her transition from private practice to state employment, stemming from a failure to keep a client facing trial apprised of her new job.
12th Judicial District (Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande, Saguache)
Alonzo Christopher Payne (D) is a lawyer who will succeed Robert S. Willett (D). He worked previously for former U.S. Rep. John Salazar and on the attorney general campaign of Ken Salazar. Payne's platform includes reducing the incarceration rate of the San Luis Valley by ending the "criminalization of poverty." He does not support private prisons and favors incarcerating people at state-run facilities instead. Payne warns that crowded jails and "overzealous" prosecutions could lead to civil rights violations.
13th Judicial District (Kit Carson, Morgan, Logan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington, Yuma)
Travis Sides (R) is a prosecutor who will succeed Brittny Lewton (R). His campaign page on Facebook includes many posts critical of the state's COVID-19 health orders and posts of stories claiming the government "obscured/lied" about the seriousness of the disease.
14th Judicial District (Grand, Moffat, Routt)
Matthew Karzen (U) is the incumbent appointed to the position in 2019 following his predecessor's resignation. He previously worked as a deputy district attorney, and before that for the attorney general's Gang Prosecution Unit and Arapahoe County's Child Sex Assault Unit. Karzen identified as a priority alternatives to incarceration for those suffering from addiction or mental illness, with an emphasis on balancing safety with "human decency."
15th Judicial District (Baca, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Prowers)
Joshua Vogel (R) is the incumbent who worked as a deputy and assistant district attorney in the office since 2013. Prior to that, he was a law clerk to a Denver District Court judge.
16th Judicial District (Bent, Crowley, Otero)
William Culver (R) is an assistant district attorney.
Rodney D. Fouracre (D) is the former district attorney who subsequently became a deputy district attorney at the end of his term.
Both candidates are seeking to succeed Jim Bullock (R).
17th Judicial District (Adams, Broomfield)
Brian Mason (D) is chief trial deputy and has worked as a deputy district attorney since 2006. Earlier in his career he worked for the Clinton Administration, as chief of staff to a member of Congress and as a fellow with the German government in Berlin. Mason's platform includes creating a civilian review board, to "vigorously" investigate and prosecute alleged police brutality, and train attorneys and staff on implicit bias. He would also like to teach preventive methods to senior citizens for guarding against fraud and scams.
Tim McCormack (R) has worked in the First and 17th judicial districts, including as the chief trial deputy district attorney in the 17th. He began his legal career at the county prosecutor's office in Sheridan, Wyo. McCormack describes a need for prosecutors to understand and engage with the communities they serve and stands for the "Rule of Law."
Both candidates are seeking to succeed Dave Young (D).
18th Judicial District (Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert, Lincoln)
John Kellner (R) is chief deputy district attorney and supervises the prosecutions in Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties. A Marine Corps veteran, he co-founded the veterans treatment court. Following his military service, Kellner worked for the Boulder County District Attorney. He pledges to work with task forces to prosecute people who illegally possess or use firearms, and to reduce recidivism, especially among juveniles. Kellner also suggests examining overdose deaths to locate drug dealers, and then pursue enhanced sentences for those defendants.
Amy L. Padden (D) is an assistant attorney general for the Special Prosecutions Unit who previously worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. She also served as a prosecutor at the local level, as deputy district attorney for the Fifth Judicial District. Padden's platform includes ensuring that immigrants can participate safely in the judicial process and supporting outside prosecutors to examine serious police misconduct cases. She opposes the use of private prisons and believes in hiring a consultant to review prosecution data and employees to look at claims of constitutional violations and disproportionate sentences.
Both candidates are seeking to succeed George Brauchler (R). Due to the creation of a 23rd Judicial District in 2024, the winner will only serve four years in the district as currently constituted.
19th Judicial District (Weld)
Michael J. Rourke (R) is the incumbent who worked in the 18th and 19th judicial districts before his 2014 appointment. He has served as a trainer and presenter on no-body homicide cases, sexual assaults, crimes against children, violent crimes and legislative changes. Rourke, who prosecuted crimes of violence earlier in his career, also ran unopposed in 2016.
20th Judicial District (Boulder)
Michael Dougherty (D) is the incumbent who received an appointment to the office in 2018 following the resignation of his predecessor. Prior to that, he served as assistant district attorney for the First Judicial District and on the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice. A priority of Dougherty's is establishing problem-solving courts in the county, such as a DUI court, as an alternative to incarceration. He also proposes the creation of a confidential reporting system for public corruption.
21st Judicial District (Mesa)
Daniel Paul Rubinstein (R) is the incumbent who served as chief deputy district attorney since 2005 until his appointment in 2015 following the resignation of his predecessor.
22nd Judicial District (Dolores, Montezuma)
Matthew Gregory Margeson (R) is an assistant district attorney who will succeed Will Furse (R). He spent seven years in private practice in the Denver area. Margeson has pointed to increased community outreach, the continuation of the grand jury system and offender rehabilitation as his priorities.