Brauchler beats Hansen in 18th Judicial District GOP primary

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AURORA | For the first time since the 1960s, the district attorney in the 18th Judicial District will be someone from outside the office.

In a tight vote Tuesday night, Republican voters in the district -— which incudes Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties — chose George Brauchler as their candidate.

Brauchler, a former Jefferson County prosecutor who has also worked as a prosecutor in the military, edged Leslie Hansen for the nomination and will face Democrat Ethan Feldman in this fall’s general election.

Throughout the campaign, Brauchler touted his status as someone from outside the current district attorney’s administration. Hansen is a chief deputy in the DA’s office and has long been seen as a potential successor to Carol Chambers, who is term limited.

Brauchler said Wednesday he was particularly proud to win the primary because in addition to being outspent in the race, his campaign also got a late start. When Hansen launched her campaign last year, Brauchler said he was still in Iraq, working as a military prosecutor.

The primary campaign focused on changing the leadership in the DA’s office, something Brauchler said he feels he accomplished by winning the primary against a candidate from the current administration.

Now, the focus will be on improving the relationship between police and prosecutors and improving the district attorney’s office, he said.

Earlier in the week, Brauchler said being an outsider means he can bring a fresh perspective to the office.

“We haven’t had somebody outside this bureaucracy elected to run this off since 1968,” he said.

Brauchler ran against Chambers in the 2008 Republican primary but lost after a bruising campaign. This time around, his message seemed to resonate with local voters more and he edged Hansen at the Judicial District assembly in the spring, giving him the top line on the primary ballot.

In an e-mail Wednesday morning, Hansen said the results weren’t what she hoped for.

“I am disappointed about the results of the race, but want to thank all the volunteers, my friends and family and colleagues who supported me in this Herculean effort,” she wrote.

Hansen won in Arapahoe County, the district’s most populous, with 14,492 votes compared to Brauchler’s 14,258.

Brauchler said he expected a tough road in Arapahoe County, which he said had long been a base of support for Hansen, and before her, Chambers.

That being the case, Brauchler said he was please with how close he came, losing the county by under 250 votes out of 28,000 votes cast.

“We were proud to be as competitive as we were,” he said.

Brauchler edged Hansen in the other three, including a 10,520 to 9,233 margin in Douglas County, where Brauchler lives.

Based on the latest numbers available, Brauchler received 26,761 votes across the district, compared to 25,319 for Hansen.

Feldman, a lawyer from Littleton, is a former prosecutor and Arapahoe County judge. He ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.

While much of Aurora is in the 18th Judicial District, residents on the Adams County side of the city live in the 17th Judicial District. In that DA’s race, just one candidate has announced plans to fill outgoing DA Don Quick’s seat. Dave Young, one of Quick’s chief deputies, ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.

No Republicans have announced plans to seek the seat, according to the Secretary of State’s office.

In 2008, Quick, a Democrat, ran unopposed. He backed a measure in 2010 that would have extended the DA’s term limit to three, but voters shot the measure down.