Assistant District Attorney Wills falls short in faceoff between Republicans
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Colleen Truden won Tuesday’s Republican primary election in the race for 9th Judicial District Attorney, making her the presumptive successor to district attorney Mac Myers. Truden beat H. Lawson Wills 2,515 to 2,067, or 55 to 45 percent. With no Democratic challenger, the only way anyone can now challenge Truden is by running a write-in campaign. “I just wanted to thank all the voters and everyone for their support,” Truden said. “I want to thank all the Republicans as their candidate through the election.”Truden, along with her husband, Fred, and two tables full of supporters at the Springs Sports Bar and Grill, watched the primary results unfold on Cable Channel 12. The group was seated in the back of the bar, cheering loudly each time a new precinct’s results flashed on the TV. Wills, 47, has been the Assistant District Attorney for the past seven years, and a prosecutor for the past 14 years. He expressed surprise and disappointment in his defeat.He says he and his family will stay in this area, and that he’ll most likely become a defense attorney. He will not attempt to win on November’s ballot as a write-in candidate, saying he accepts the voters’ decision.”It’s been a privilege to represent the people of this county for the last 12 years,” he said. “I have concerns about the people in the (DA’s) office, and how they’re going to be treated in the future – if they’re going to stay there (with the change in administration.)”Although Truden was pleased with her primary win, she didn’t want to declare a final victory just yet. “We really won’t know if it’s contested until Sept. 3,” she said. “So we’re going to continue to work hard on our campaign.”The summer campaign was contentious at times. Garfield County law enforcement officials pulled for Truden because she promised to address her concerns.Wills, on the other hand, touted his 14 years of prosecutorial experience and made an issue of Truden’s lack of experience in the field of trying cases. Wills ran on the platform of his copious experience as a prosecutor over the past 14 years, and said last night that he’s now noticing a loss of experienced prosecutors statewide. He notes the loss of Eva Wilson and Tom Quammen in Arapahoe and Weld counties as examples of this loss.”These are very experienced prosecutors, who are looked up to from around the state,” he said. “Term limits have really politicized the DA’s office and position. There’s been a lot of turn-over statewide, not just here. I don’t think it bodes well for our industry.”Also during the campaign, Truden declined to debate Wills in Pitkin County and when she faced him in a Glenwood Springs election forum, most political pundits declared that Wills won it decisively. “I think it was the leadership and the way the campaign was handled,” she said. Wills won by almost a 2-1 margin in Pitkin County, 474-168.”I like to think that [Pitkin County voters] best know the type of law enforcement I represent and have represented,” Wills said. “People downvalley, like in Rio Blanco county don’t know me as well. I take it as compliment that the people that know me as best were very supportive of me.”But when the numbers for Rio Blanco and Garfield counties came in, it quickly became clear Wills’ upvalley support wouldn’t be enough. Truden garnered 726 to Wills’ 331 votes in Rio Blanco County and she beat him by a count of 1,621 to 1,262. Aspen correspondent Naomi Havlen contributed to this report.Contact Greg Massé: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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