DENVER (KDVR) — Former U.S. Attorney John Walsh has thrown his hat in the ring, announcing Thursday he would be running to be the next Denver district attorney. He’ll be up against four candidates all seeking the Democratic nomination for the job.
Current Denver DA Beth McCann previously said she is not running for reelection.
Walsh, who served as U.S. attorney for the District of Colorado from 2010 to 2016, said he will create “real results” for violent crime, as well as problem-solving to build trust and stop crime before it starts.
“I’m running for Denver district attorney with a vision rooted in my lifetime of experience fighting crime,” Walsh said in his announcement. “From prosecuting drug rings to taking on billion-dollar companies defrauding consumers, I’ve always sought ways to be smarter, more effective and more equitable in our approach to justice.
“Post-pandemic, Denver, like many cities, faces complex challenges: rising gun violence, school violence, auto thefts that hurt working families, and issues of addiction and homelessness,” Walsh said.
Walsh said in his announcement that he does not believe these “challenges” are insurmountable, but can be addressed effectively by someone with leadership, experience and commitment to earning the community’s trust.
Walsh most recently worked as a partner with WilmerHale, an international law firm. This year, Law Week Colorado named him “Lawyer of the Year,” and in 2021 he was recognized as both Colorado’s “Best Litigator” and “Best Overall Litigator.”
Former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and McCann have all endorsed Walsh for the position.
According to Colorado Secretary of State records, Walsh will face four other candidates in the 2024 November election.
- Matthew James, Denver assistant district attorney since 2017
- Leora Joseph, director of the Office of Behavioral Health for the Colorado Department of Human Services
- Zach McCabe, Denver assistant District Attorney since 2020
- Lisi Owen, former prisoners’ rights attorney
Walsh is facing a steep battle in terms of funding. Currently, Joseph is raising far more money than her opponents. She reported to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office that she has raised $114,441 as of Oct. 16. Owens has raised the second most: $11,842.