Bernie-backed Padden cruises to ballot as Democratic nominee for Arapahoe County DA

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AURORA | An Aurora Democrat who netted the early support of Sen. Bernie Sanders will face Republican John Kellner in the race to become the next 18th Judicial District Attorney, voters decided in a local primary contest Tuesday.

Amy Padden trounced fellow Democrat Matt Maillaro in the Democratic bout, netting more than 70 percent of the roughly 144,000 ballots counted as of 1 p.m. on July 1, according to reports from the jurisdiction’s four counties.

“I am honored and humbled that the people of the 18th Judicial District supported my vision for a more just district attorney’s office,” Padden said in a statement issued Tuesday night. “It is important that we have a true progressive to reform the office from the regressive state George Brauchler has put it in, and I am thrilled that the voters of the four counties of the 18th Judicial District decided I am the right woman for that job.”

The term-limited Brauchler has skippered the Republican bastion since 2012.

Pictured: Amy Padden.

A former assistant U.S. Attorney, Padden most recently worked as a deputy district attorney for the 5th Judicial District, which runs through the Interstate 70 mountain corridor. She left Democratic DA Bruce Brown’s office earlier this spring to focus on campaigning.

Maillaro, who currently works in the 18th judicial district, outspent Padden by more than a 2-to-1 margin, according to campaign finance reports. He congratulated Padden via phone shortly after results were released Tuesday evening.

“We ran an important, issue-focused campaign,” Maillaro said in a statement. “I’m proud of my team’s effort, and I believe we elevated the discourse surrounding much needed criminal justice reform. I congratulate Ms. Padden and her team on their success.”

John Kellner

Padden will now face Kellner, a Marine Corps veteran and cold case prosecutor in the 18th Judicial District. Both candidates currently report relatively modest fundraising totals, with Padden reporting just about $4,500 in the bank, and Kellner sporting just shy of $30,000 in his coffers. Padden spent slightly less than $100,000 in her primary fight, while Kellner has so far only spent about $12,000.