^
Keep Westword Free
4
| News |

No Republican is safe -- not even Carol Chambers

Carol Chambers.

Marilyn Musgrave isn't the only dyed-in-the-pantsuit conservative wandering around this bleary morning wondering what the hell happened to his or her mandate. Several other presumably well-entrenched GOP incumbents around the state hung on by their fingernails in what should have been walkaway races.

The case of Carol Chambers, district attorney for sprawling Arapahoe and Douglas (and Elbert and Lincoln) counties, is particularly interesting. With more than 80 percent of the precincts reporting, Chambers appears to have prevailed by a definite but hardly resounding 52-47 margin over Democrat Kevin Farrell. (There are tens of thousands of mail-in ballots still being counted in Douglas County alone, but the percentages seem to be holding steady.) That's a shockingly thin victory by a conservative incumbent who also happens to be the wife of the Arapahoe County GOP leader, in an area that's long been a Republican stronghold.

Scott Storey, Jeffco's Republican DA, had a similarly narrow escape, possibly because of the high-profile hash his office made of the Larry Manzanares investigation and suicide. (See the July 2007 blog "D.A. bluenose: 'Let the healing begin'"). The Chambers squeaker surely has something to do with the multiple controversies that swirled through her first term, from her overkill tactics (read details in the February 2007 feature "The Punisher") to her public censure (that story's told in the February 2007 sidebar "A Thumb on the Scales") and getting tossed off a death-penalty case (learn more in "Bad Execution," from this past April).

To name just a few.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Doubtless the defenders of these zealous prosecutors will blame their diminishing appeal on a throw-the-bums-out voter mentality rather than on their own alarming missteps. Voters are nothing if not fickle, right? Richard Nixon had a landslide in '72, but over the next two years, Watergate and other scandals led to a revulsion with all things Republican, and Colorado, like many states, went superblue in the 1974 races, seemingly regardless of the merits or experience of individual candidates. George W. snuck into office under a Supreme Court edict, then figured he had a mandate after 9-11, only to drag down a lot of traditionally red enclaves with him this year.

Or so the argument goes. But Chambers faced a surprisingly tough primary challenge from ex-prosecutor George Brauchler (highlighted in the July blog "The Duel for DA Heats Up"), who had a lot of endorsements from law enforcement, and then an even tougher race against a Democrat who had almost no campaign budget -- and who also happens to be a (shudder) criminal-defense attorney. All of which suggests the problem lies not in voter fecklessness but in Chambers' record.

There is no mandate so solid that it can't be frittered away, it seems, even in an all-red district. -- Alan Prendergast

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.