By Peter Jones
District Attorney George Brauchler’s hypothetical run for governor came to an implicit but certain end on March 20 when the Republican 18th District prosecutor put his support behind state Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, one candidate in a crowded field of Republicans seeking their party’s nomination.
“Greg Brophy is a gutsy principled guy who doesn’t come from Denver,” Brauchler told The Villager last week. “He’s the only candidate who doesn’t live in the metro area. This guy is the cure for what ails the governor’s office right now, which is a myopic focus on Denver. Colorado is far more than the land that surrounds Denver.”
Brauchler had been considering his own gubernatorial run since last spring, but when push came to shove, the district attorney said he had to err on the side of his current responsibilities as chief prosecutor.
“There were a lot of people out there who tried to keep hope alive and I never said no,” Brauchler said of his potential run for governor. “At a certain point, it just became obvious to me that this [district attorney’s] job is too important right now. There’s too much going on. It would be very difficult to stand up in front [of the Republican Assembly] two years later and say I’d like a different job.”
Some Republicans had been calling for Brauchler to run for governor since last spring when Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper gave convicted murderer Nathan Dunlap a controversial reprieve from his death sentence for having killed four people at an Aurora Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in 1993.
Brauchler’s outrage was cutting and immediate, criticizing what he saw as the governor’s consolatory wishy-washy style.
“At the end of the day, Colorado did not elect John Hickenlooper to be the state’s bartender,” the district attorney told The Villager last July. “They elected him to be the governor. Being the governor means leading and making hard decisions. He has really shown an inability or unwillingness to do either.”
But with yet another high-profile Arapahoe County murder case in the works – and the district attorney directly leading the prosecution team – Brauchler said he was ultimately compelled to put justice in the Aurora theater shooting ahead of his own political ambitions. In large part, he said, everything he would do as either a candidate or prosecutor would be viewed through a partisan lens.
“Politics should have absolutely nothing to do with this case. It should have nothing to do with the pursuit of justice,” he said.
Jury selection for accused murderer James Holmes is scheduled for October, one month prior to the gubernatorial election.
Brauchler’s extended “non-run” may have long-term political benefits. By keeping his name in the press for months and feeding support for a theoretical run for governor, the district attorney may have set himself on an early stage for 2018 if Hickenlooper prevails and keeps his job in this November’s election.
“If you want to give me credit for that level of tactical thinking, please do,” Brauchler said with a laugh. “I wish I could tell you there was that much behind it.”
2018 All Rights Reserved. Villager Publishing |