Recount confirms Kellner victory in race for 18th Judicial District Attorney seat

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AURORA | More than a month after Election Day, the majority of Aurora officially has a new district attorney.

Recounted vote totals confirmed Republican John Kellner bested Democrat Amy Padden in the race to become the next top prosecutor in the state’s most populated judicial district, campaigns for both candidates announced Saturday.

Kellner beat Padden to become the next district attorney of the 18th Judicial District by slightly more than 1,400 votes in a race in which more than 573,000 ballots were cast, according to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.

Padden called Kellner to concede the race after recounted vote totals were shored up over the weekend, according to her campaign.

“While we were not victorious this time, we generated an interest in this race that had not been seen before,” Padden said in a statement. “I look forward to the reforms that Mr. Kellner has promised to implement, because they are needed to ensure that communities of color and other marginalized communities are treated equally and fairly.  I wish Mr. Kellner the best of luck and have offered any assistance that I might be able to provide in implementing his reforms.”

Kellner, who’s served as a chief deputy district attorney for the past eight years, will succeed his current boss, term-limited Republican George Brauchler. A Democrat has not won the post since the 1960s.

Kellner is set to serve as the last DA of the 18th as it is currently arranged. Arapahoe County will be parceled out of the jurisdiction, which currently covers about 88% o Aurora, beginning in 2025. Voters in Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln Counties will hire a new district attorney for the novel 23rd judicial district in November 2024.

Padden handily won Arapahoe County this election cycle, though Kellner surged to victory by winning the jurisdiction’s more southern and conservative enclaves in Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln Counties.

Kellner is expected to be sworn in to his new role Jan. 12.

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