Despite losing the Adams and Broomfield counties dual Democratic Assembly vote in March by a margin of more than 2-to-1, incumbent 17 Judicial District Attorney Dave Young held off his challenger Tuesday to remain the party’s candidate for …
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Despite losing the Adams and Broomfield counties dual Democratic Assembly vote in March by a margin of more than 2-to-1, incumbent 17 Judicial District Attorney Dave Young held off his challenger Tuesday to remain the party’s candidate for November’s general election.
The more than 25-year prosecutorial veteran in the June 28 primary election staved off challenger Caryn Datz, a Boulder deputy district attorney who cut her teeth more than a decade ago as an entry-level prosecutor for the 17Judicial District in Adams County.
Young faces Republican DA nominee Molly Jansen in November.
Datz appeared to have the momentum after a dual assembly gathering in March, where she garnered about 70 percent of the vote as the Democratic candidate for the dual-county DA position. But Young countered by going door-to-door to gather more than 1,500 petition signatures to get back on the primary ballot.
For a brief time, Datz again appeared to be in control early Tuesday, after Broomfield reported first, giving the challenger a 1,000-vote head start and a nearly 2-to-1 lead.
But Adams County was one of the last counties in the state to report, and by close to midnight polls had flip-flopped: Young had edged ahead about 55 percent to Datz’s 45 percent. The unofficial tally shows Young finishing with 10,201 votes to Datz’s 8,399.
Young said he was pleased that that an upbeat approach had prevailed.
“I’m proud of the positive message that we kept saying,” Young said. “There was a lot of negativity coming from the other side, but I really focused on my accomplishments and the accomplishments of the office. And at the end of the day, I think that’s what the voters care about.
“We’re a law enforcement agency and they want to know we’re doing our job and keeping them safe,” he added. “I think we’re doing it better than any other DA office in the state, so I’m real proud of our office.”
Going into the primary, Datz had tried to sell voters on her unique perspective and broader experience as both a prosecutor and a public defender, as well as her advocacy, which she said was born of her personal experience with violent crime: She and her husband had been mugged more than a decade ago, and Datz was stabbed in the incident.
A day after the primary, Datz said she remains proud of the campaign she ran and appreciative of those in the community who supported her.
“Going forward, I only wish the best for the office of the district attorney and the community it serves,” she said.
Young, speaking from the DA’s office the day after the election, said there was a sense of relief.
“Of course, it’s not over — I still have the November election,” he said. “But this was still a big hurdle to get over. I guess `relief’ is the word for folks here at the DA’s office.”
Jansen, on her Facebook page June 29, wasted no time in trying to deflate Young’s victory and portray the close call as a clear case of voter dissent.
“I think Caryn Datz deserves a lot of credit for her primary campaign. The fact that she was able to soundly defeat a sitting District Attorney at the assembly and to keep the race so close is a testament to her strength as a candidate and to Dave Young’s weakness as one,” wrote Jansen, owner and manager of a Denver criminal defense law firm. “Young’s policies have led to significant frustration among his constituents.”
Young said he’s banking on those very same constituents to prove Jansen wrong.
“Our message is going to be the same, it’s going to be positive and it’s going to be about my track record for public safety,” he said. “And I think, at the end of the day, the voters are going to come through in November as well.”
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