Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser drew his first Republican challenger this week as John Kellner — the district attorney for the 18th Judicial District representing Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln Counties — entered the race. 

Kellner announced his bid on Twitter and in an opinion piece he authored for Colorado Politics, where he made the case against Weiser’s soft-on-crime record as the state has fallen victim to the highest crime wave in a quarter century. 

From his announcement in Colorado Politics:  

This past year, in the face of an unprecedented rise in murders — statewide by 32% and 50% in Denver — our state’s legislature passed a bill to lower the penalties for murderers. I stood against this bill and testified before our legislature multiple times to warn them of its repercussions. Our attorney general was nowhere to be seen, and it passed without any input from our chief law enforcement officer.

Kellner criticized Weiser, a Democrat, for filing a lawsuit in Colorado’s name to support supervised injection sites in Philadelphia where drug addicts would be supplied with more drugs at taxpayer expense.

Weiser failed in his role as attorney general by remaining silent when Gov. Polis’s parole board granted early release to numerous criminals who went on to commit more violent crimes, including alleged sex crimes against children, Kellner said.

There have been no prosecutions of the $100 million in fraudulent unemployment claims the Polis administration paid out during the pandemic. 

And, Kellner said Weiser was also missing in action when district attorneys from across the state testified against legislation to weaken consequences for selling deadly drugs like fentanyl, meth, and heroin.

“The result? We now have open-air drug markets in Denver parks because users are no longer concerned about the consequences of getting caught,” Kellner said.


To get out from this historic crime tsunami, we need bold leadership to turn the tide.


Make no mistake, our crime wave will only get worse unless people in leadership roles are willing to stand up for public safety all the time, not just when their job is on the line and regardless of the political affiliation of our governor. The chief law enforcement officer of our state should not be hiding in the back while our state faces one of its biggest — and most troubling — battles of this decade.

Kellner is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. 

He began working in the district attorney’s office in 2012 leading the cold case unit, and ran for district attorney in 2020 beating Democrat Amy Padden. 

Weiser will have a lot to answer for in this campaign, like the ethics complaint alleging he violated campaign finance laws at that Hawaiian fundraiser he held at the Grand Wailea Maui.

Then there’s the $250,000 no-bid contracts Weiser is accused of giving to a handful of his campaign contributors and firms. 

And who can forget Weiser’s endorsement of a self-described anarcho-socialist for Aurora City Council, who mercifully was defeated?

Not us! 

Voters aren’t likely to forget, either.