Democrat Amy Padden will face off against Republican John Kellner in the November election for 18th Judicial District attorney after Padden glided to a win in the party primary that ended June 30.
In unofficial results the morning of July 1, Padden led Democratic opponent Matt Maillaro by nearly 2.5-to-1 margin, 71.2% to 28.8% Padden enjoyed a wide lead in all four counties of the judicial district: Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln.
Padden declared victory and released a statement shortly after 9:30 p.m. on June 30.
“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. “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.”
Padden was not immediately available for comment. Maillaro provided a written statement congratulating Padden.
"We ran an important issue-focused campaign. I'm proud of my team's effort, and I believe we elevated the discourse surrounding much-needed criminal justice reform," he said.
Combined, the two Democrats garnered 138,708 votes, while unopposed Republican Kellner drew 93,595 votes in results early July 1.
Padden, an Aurora resident, has vowed to bring change to the 18th Judicial District, casting both Maillaro and Kellner as establishment candidates because of their current leadership roles within the 18th.
Padden has worked as an attorney for 25 years, starting her career in private practice before serving as a prosecutor at the Colorado Attorney General's Office, the U.S. Attorney's Office and within the 5th Judicial District.
She's promised to be tough on hate crime, focus on immigrant communities in the 18th, reduce over-incarceration and bring about police and prosecution reform. She has said her experience with criminal justice reform set her apart from other candidates.
Leading up to the primary, Padden touted her work building a judicial district adult diversion program “from the ground up” and said she aims to expand the 18th Judicial District's adult diversion program. She called racial inequalities the most pressing issue facing the 18th Judicial District.
Padden snagged endorsements from elected officials including U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont; U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colorado; Colorado state Sens. Julie Gonzales and Jeff Bridges; and Denver School Board Director Tay Anderson.
Maillaro, the assistant district attorney in the 18th District, has worked as a prosecutor for 22 years.
Endorsed by state Sen. Rhonda Fields, former Gov. Bill Ritter and Arapahoe County Sheriff Tyler Brown, among others, Maillaro had promised a focus on community engagement if elected.
He built a platform on bolstering resources for crime victims, expanding diversion and restorative justice programs and hiring a more diverse team within the district.
Maillaro said he believed addressing the juvenile justice system and steering children toward diversion programs was one of the most important issues facing the district.
Padden will now prepare to square off with Kellner in the November general election.
Kellner served active duty in the Marine Corps before forging a full-time career in law as a prosecutor. In 2012, Brauchler tapped Kellner to help start a cold case unit in the 18th Judicial District. Today he supervises prosecution in Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties and remains in the Marine Corps Reserves.