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Truden edges Wills

Naomi Havlen and Greg Massé

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 percent to 45 percent. With no Democratic challenger, the only way anyone can now challenge Truden is by running a write-in campaign. “I just want 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.”Wills, 47, has been assistant district attorney for the past seven years, and a prosecutor for the past 14 years. He also ran as a Republican candidate, and expressed surprise and disappointment in his defeat.He said he and his family will stay in the valley, and that he’ll most likely enter a defense role as an 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 [district attorney’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].”Truden, along with her husband, Fred, and two tables full of supporters at the Springs Sports Bar and Grill in Glenwood, watched the primary results unfold on TV. The group was seated in the back of the bar, cheering loudly each time a new precinct’s results flashed on screen. Although Truden, who was a municipal judge in Glenwood Springs for much of the last decade, was pleased with the 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 their concerns.Wills, on the other hand, touted his 14 years of prosecutorial experience and made an issue of Truden’s lack of experience in trying cases. Also during the campaign, Truden declined to debate Wills in Pitkin County and when she faced him in a Glenwood Springs election forum, most observers declared that Wills won it decisively. “I think it was the leadership and the way the campaign was handled,” she said.Wills won by an almost 2-1 margin in Pitkin County, 474-168. But when the numbers for Rio Blanco and Garfield counties came in, it quickly became clear Wills’ upvalley support wasn’t enough.”I like to think that [Pitkin County voters] best know the type of law enforcement I represent and have represented,” Wills said. “[Others], like in Rio Blanco County, don’t know me as well. I take it as a compliment that the people that know me best were very supportive of me.”Truden garnered 726 votes to Wills’ 331 in Rio Blanco County and she beat him by a count of 1,621 to 1,262 in Garfield County.Wills said last night that he’s noticing a loss of experienced prosecutors statewide. He noted 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 turnover statewide, not just here. I don’t think it bodes well for our industry.”


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