Left: Democrat Don Quick; right: Republican Cynthia Coffman. 

(Photo: Courtesy candidates' campaigns)

The attorney general serves as the state's top prosecutor and is tasked with enforcing Colorado's laws. The candidates, Democrat Don Quick and Republican Cynthia Coffman, are vying for the post currently held by Republican John Suthers. Also running is Libertarian David K. Williams, who did not respond to CPR News' survey.

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The candidates answered the following questions about issues they may face. 

Would you defend Colorado laws that you believe contradict the federal constitution?
Don Quick (Democrat) For the last 26 years as a prosecutor, I have defended numerous laws before county courts, district courts and the state Supreme Court. Some laws I’ve agreed with, and some I have not. However, if a law on its face targets a group to deny fundamental rights under the Constitution, I will not defend it. For example, eight months ago I publicly stated that I wouldn’t defend the same-sex marriage ban because it denied a targeted group a fundamental right. 
Cynthia Coffman (Republican) Yes, unless there is binding precedent directly on point and to the contrary. It is the attorney general's job to uphold and defend Colorado law in order to reach a final conclusion from the highest court as to our state law's constitutionality. 
What will your first priority be as the state's top prosecutor?
Don Quick (Democrat) As a career prosecutor, I have locked up violent and habitual criminals. I will continue to do that as the attorney general. However, as the Adams County district attorney, I also focused on keeping kids in school so they stayed out of the justice system. Through the use of a community partnership, we reduced juvenile crime by 44 percent. It will be a priority to me to work with communities across Colorado to implement similar partnerships to achieve similar results. 
Cynthia Coffman (Republican) Establishing a public integrity unit to investigate and prosecute fraud and corruption by public officials and government employees.
What will you do if the federal government decides to enforce existing laws banning marijuana?
Don Quick (Democrat) To the best of my ability, I will continue to enforce Amendment 64 as the voters passed it. 
Cynthia Coffman (Republican) I will defend Colorado law. I would expect there to be significant conversation between the federal government and the states of Colorado and Washington before such enforcement would begin. I would hope many solutions could be reached without going to court.
Should local municipalities have the right to ban or restrict oil and gas exploration in Colorado?
Don Quick (Democrat) As the attorney general, I will enforce the laws that the legislators pass. I hope that the task force is able to make recommendations that will be acceptable at both the local and state level. 
Cynthia Coffman (Republican) This is a policy issue currently being debated by the governor's oil and gas task force. I expect the general assembly will make law on the issue in the next legislative session, and the attorney general's Office then will be in a position to advise its clients on legal questions that may arise. 

Also running is Libertarian David K. Williams, who did not respond to CPR News' survey.