The race to succeed 4th Judicial District Attorney Dan May is about to get more crowded with the entry of Senior Deputy District Attorney Michael J. Allen.
Allen plans to make his formal entry into the race next Thursday, July 11 in Colorado Springs. He joins El Paso County Commissioner Mark Waller, a former state legislator, in the Republican primary for the open seat in 2020.
May is term-limited.
Allen plans to roll out endorsements from May, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, former District Attorney Jeanne Smith, Colorado Springs police detective Joe Somosky — president of the Colorado Springs Police Protective Association — and Sherryl Dillon, executive director of the local police union, according to a release from Allen's campaign
The 4th Judicial District covers El Paso and Teller counties. The district's Republican voter registration advantage means the primary winner is likely to take the seat in next November's general election.
Allen has been with the 4th Judicial District Attorney's office since December, 2011, according to a bio supplied by his campaign. He was an assistant district attorney in Lawrence, Kansas, from March 2008 to December 2011, and worked in the Kansas attorney general's office before that. Allen received his law degree from the University of Kansas in 2005 and was admitted to the Kansas bar later that year.
Among his notable cases: prosecution of five Iraqi nationals for the brutal sexual assault of a Colorado Springs woman in 2012, as well as obtaining first-degree murder convictions of Brandon Cockrell, Andre Jones and a trio of men who killed a Security-Widefield man in 2014.
Allen has been involved with the El Paso County Republican Party since 2016, including as a county and state delegate in both 2016 and 2018. This will be his first run for public office.
The Navy veteran served aboard the USS Carl Vinson from 1994 to 1998 as an aviation electronics technician.
The race between Allen and Waller is already heating up. According to a July 3 report from the Colorado Springs Independent, Allen's endorsement from the Colorado Springs Police Protective Association came after its board met with Allen last February, though Allen had not yet made his candidacy official or filed paperwork with the Colorado secretary of state.
Waller told Colorado Politics that the CSPPA never called or reached out to him.
"When I found out that [Allen] had been endorsed, he wasn't even an announced candidate. It's crazy that an organization would endorse someone who's not a candidate and not even call the only other person who is an announced candidate," Waller said.
Waller said it's customary for organizations to interview all available candidates before issuing an endorsement. Dillon, the union's executive director, did not return a call for comment.
"It does a disservice to their members" to not review all candidates, Waller said, adding that he didn't get the opportunity to talk to the CSPPA about his prosecution history — including in Pueblo's 10th Judicial District and prosecuting insurgents in Iraq when he was in the Air Force — or his legislative history and current work with the Police Foundation of Colorado Springs.
"I've contributed positively to public safety in that entire body of work, and I'm flabbergasted," Waller said. "I've never seen shenanigans like this."
He added: "But at the end of the day, we'll be fine. My qualifications speak for themselves."