It’s official: George Brauchler is once again running for office; he filed for the brand-new 23rd Judicial District Attorney race yesterday. Rumors about his entry have been circulating for months, sometimes even fed by Brauchler himself, who would avoid making any definitive statements when callers to his KNUS morning radio show would occasionally ask him about it.
Created by the legislature in 2020, the 23rd Judicial District, which will officially exist starting next year, will encompass Douglas, Elbert, and Lincoln counties, making it one of the most conservative judicial districts in the state.
While serving as Arapahoe County District Attorney, Brauchler prosecuted a number of high-profile cases, included the 2013 Aurora Theater shooting and the 2015 Fero’s Bar multiple murder trial. He also worked the 2020 Highlands Ranch STEM school shooting trial, for which he stayed on as a deputy after his term as DA was over to help with litigation. After his term as DA ended in 2021, he immediately took the helm at a then-new conservative dark money group, Advance Colorado.
He also eventually took to the airwaves, replacing longtime KNUS morning radio host Peter Boyles in September 2022. During his year and a half on air, Brauchler interviewed countless Republican and even some Democratic elected officials on the local and national issues of the day. He repeatedly defended former President Trump, noting that he voted for Trump twice and likely (assuming he’s the nominee) will do so again this November.
Last year Brauchler joined another conservative advocacy organization, the Common Sense Institute as one of its Criminal Justice Fellows. Both Advance Colorado and the Common Sense Institute are funded by another dark money group, the Colorado Opportunity Foundation (COF), which is led by Brauchler’s Advance Colorado colleague Michael Fields, who runs both COF and the Advance Colorado Institute, the group’s 501c3 arm. Neither Brauchler nor Fields have responded to the public claim made by another Colorado Republican leader, Chuck Bonniwell, that Advance Colorado is “all funded by [Colorado billionaire] Phil Anschutz.”
Brauchler has also served as a lawyer in the Army National Guard as well as taught classes at both University of Denver’s College of Law and his alma mater, the University of Colorado School of Law.
In 2018 while serving as the 18th District Attorney, Brauchler ran failed statewide races for Governor (briefly) and then Attorney General, ultimately losing to Democrat Phil Weiser. This time around he will face at least one primary challenger, private attorney Dagny Van Der Jagt, who launched her campaign almost two months ago. Her campaign website lists eighteen endorsements, including Tom Tancredo and retired Castle Rock Police Commander John Anderson, who recently ran for Douglas County Sheriff.
Brauchler’s fledgling campaign doesn’t have any endorsements yet, but it does have something else: a campaign finance complaint. Raymond Garcia, who serves as board chair of the Colorado Hispanic Republicans, alleged on January 17 that Brauchler has been running what he terms “an illegal shadow campaign” for this office since April 2023.
Last Friday the Colorado Deputy Secretary of State Chris Beall rejected the Election Division’s motion to dismiss the complaint, determining that “the allegations and information contained the Complaint present a plausible basis from which to infer that Respondent allegedly has received a contribution in support of his candidacy.”
Both Brauchler and Van der Jagt state in their candidate affidavits that they are accepting Colorado’s voluntary campaign finance limits. This restricts the total amount a candidate or candidate committee may spend during the entire election cycle to $102,500.
Brauchler did not respond to email and voicemail requests for comment. This article will be updated with any response received.