John Kellner, a Republican district attorney, enters race to be Colorado’s next attorney general

Republican District Attorney John Kellner said Thursday he is running for state attorney general against incumbent Democrat Phil Weiser.

Citing the state’s crime rate, Kellner said he is running because he wants to take a role in getting Colorado out of its “crime tsunami.”

“A general must lead from the front,” he wrote in a column for Colorado Politics announcing his run. “Unfortunately, our current attorney general, Phil Weiser … has failed to lead when it comes to public safety. Instead, Weiser has — strategically perhaps — sat quietly in the back.”

18th Judicial District Website
District Attorney John Kellner

Kellner represents the state’s largest judicial district, which includes Arapahoe, Douglas, Lincoln and Elbert counties. He has led the office since January 2021 — after he won the seat by 2,000 votes in 2020. 

Before that, Kellner served as an assistant district attorney under then-DA George Brauchler. Kellner is in the Marine Corps Reserves and served in various roles in the JAG Corps after law school at the University of Colorado.

Weiser, who has $2.3 million cash on hand for his re-election, sent a note out to supporters on Thursday welcoming Kellner to the race.

The state Attorney General's Office acts as the state's lawyer in legal proceedings against state agencies. It also has primary authority for enforcement of consumer protection and antitrust laws, the statewide grand jury and training and certification of law enforcement officers.

Weiser touted his own accomplishments in his first term, including the $400 million Colorado received from the opioid epidemic settlements and his work on criminal justice reform.

Weiser also said he was proud of his office’s work on consumer protection rights.

“Over the last three years, we have returned tens of millions of dollars to consumers in cases taking on irresponsible companies for their unfair and deceptive practices,” he said. “And we have more work to do.”