Endorsements, cash flood local DA races for 2020 election

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AURORA | The veritable gaggle of national Democrats vying to become their party’s nominee for the presidency next year aren’t the only candidates getting a jump on the November 2020 election. 

Republican and Democratic candidates have already emerged in the races for the district attorney’s seat in both the 17th and 18th Judicial Districts, according to Secretary of State records.

Amy Padden

Both of the current DAs in the two jurisdictions that cover Aurora, Democrat Dave Young in the 17th and Republican George Brauchler in the 18th, are term-limited.

High-profile endorsements and six-digit fundraising totals have already started flooding the race for Brauchler’s seat, which covers Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln Counties. A trio of candidates have already announced their intentions to seek the post held by Brauchler since 2012.

Democrats Matt Maillaro and Amy Padden have both entered the race along with Republican John Kellner. 

Maillaro is currently an assistant district attorney in the 18th Judicial District, and Kellner is a chief deputy district attorney in the same office.

Padden is a deputy district attorney in the 5th Judicial District, which covers Clear Creek, Summit, Eagle and Lake Counties along the Interstate 70 corridor. 

Matt Maillaro

Padden, a former assistant attorney general and executive assistant U.S. attorney who ran in the Democratic primary for state attorney general last election cycle, has netted the most money so far with more than $105,000 in her coffers as of mid-October, according to finance reports filed with the Secretary of State’s Office. Padden has raised more than $33,000 and loaned herself $80,000.

Maillaro, a University of Denver Sturm College of Law graduate, has spent the most out of the gate, having already shelled out more than $33,000, according to campaign finance data. He has raised about $29,500 and loaned himself $15,000, leaving him with slightly more than $11,000 on hand.

Kellner, a University of Colorado Law School graduate, has raised nearly $18,000 and spent only $724 of that so far. 

Padden has nabbed endorsements from former U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, current state Treasurer Dave Young and several current and former state legislators, including current Democratic Aurora Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet.

Maillaro has touted endorsements from Aurora state Sen. Rhonda Fields, state Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg and the district attorney in the state’s 14th Judicial District, which covers rural counties in the far northwest corner of the state.

John Kellner

Kellner does not have any endorsements listed on his website, and an email and phone call to the campaign were not immediately returned. 

In the 17th Judicial District, which oversees all of Aurora north of East Colfax Avenue, Democrat Brian Mason and Republican Tim McCormack have both launched bids to be the area’s top prosecutor.

Both attorneys have worked in the Adams and Broomfield County DA’s office, though McCormack left the 17th for the 1st Judicial District in Jefferson County two years ago.

Mason, who has worked in north Aurora’s judicial district since 2006, has already netted nearly $56,000 thanks to more than $51,000 of contributions and a $5,000 loan. He’s only spent about $4,500 of his total funds, according to the latest campaign finance filings. 

Brian Mason

McCormack has raised more than $13,000 and spent about $9,000, leaving him with $4,163 in his coffers.

McCormack, a graduate of the Creighton University School of Law, worked in the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office from 1999 to 2017. He has already announced endorsements from police unions in Adams County, Brighton, Westminster, Arvada, and longtime Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader, among several others.

Tim McCormack

Mason, a graduate of the University of Colorado Law School, has already claimed endorsements from state Attorney General Phil Weiser, Democratic U.S. Reps. Ed Perlmutter and Joe Neguse, a bevy of state legislators, and several city and county politicians, including Aurora City Councilwoman Angela Lawson.

Voters won’t decide the two races until next Election Day, scheduled for Nov. 3, 2020.

CORRECTION: A former version of this story stated that Tim McCormack currently works in the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. He currently works in the 1st Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Jefferson County. The Sentinel regrets the error.