LONGMONT — Most of the two major political parties’ candidates for mid-ticket statewide office converged on Longmont High School’s Albert E. James Auditorium on Thursday night to deliver capsule versions of their campaign stump speeches.
One Republican who did not attend the forum was Attorney General John Suthers, who is seeking a full four-year term after being appointed to his post in late 2004.
Weld County Sheriff John Cooke, who stood in for Suthers, said he’s known his fellow Republican since Suthers was a Colorado Springs-based district attorney who “really wanted to put the bad guys away.”
But Democrat Fern O’Brien, the Gunbarrel resident who wants to replace Suthers as attorney general, said she’d use her “real-world perspective” as a businesswoman and private-practice attorney in “protecting all Coloradans to the fullest extent of the law.”
Said O’Brien: “As your attorney general, more than anything else — whether you are a Democrat, a Republican or unaffiliated — I will be a strong, proactive leader who will be your advocate, protecting children and the elderly, protecting consumers and businesses, and safeguarding our land, air and water.”
Libertarian Dwight Harding, a Longmont attorney who also is running for attorney general, did not participate in the forum.
The two candidates for secretary of state, meanwhile, separately touted the backgrounds each man said would benefit Coloradans if voters choose him to be the state’s chief elections officer.
“I want to reduce the influence of money” in campaigns and elections, Democrat Ken Gordon said.
Gordon, who’s currently the state Senate majority leader, added that he wants to improve voter turnout because “I want the values of the American people to become the laws of our country.”
Republican Mike Coffman said: “What I will bring to the office of secretary of state is leadership,” a quality he said he’s demonstrated in his military service, as a businessman, in the Legislature and in his current post as state treasurer.
That, Coffman said, would include carrying out his responsibilities with the same “honor and integrity” that’s drilled into and expected of the nation’s servicemen and women.
Republican Mark Hillman and Democrat Cary Kennedy, who are vying for the chance to be the next state treasurer, each promised to be a conscientious guardian of the taxpayers’ dollars.
Kennedy said she’s running to “make sure Colorado has responsible fiscal policies” and pledged to disclose information about the status of state government investments and finances.
John Fryar can be reached by e-mail at