By John Bear, Daily Camera
Newly appointed Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty has received the endorsement of former DA Stan Garnett as he prepares to face one of the lawyers in his office in the upcoming Democratic primary.
Dougherty on Friday shared on Facebook part of a letter written by Garnett explaining his decision to back the new DA.
“I’m honored to have his support,” Dougherty said when reached by phone on Friday evening. “My top priority is making sure it’s a smooth transition for the office and the community. Having Stan’s support has made that possible.”
In that letter, Garnett criticizes state Rep. Mike Foote, one of his former prosecutors who failed to win the governor’s appointment to succeed Garnett, but who remains on staff in the Boulder DA’s office.
That didn’t go down well with Foote, Dougherty’s opponent in the June primary, which likely will decide the district attorney’s seat for the next two years as no Republican candidates have emerged.
Foote said in an email Friday evening that he understands the need for Garnett to support the new DA, but it was disappointing that Garnett “has gone back on his word to me and others that he would stay out of this race.”
In his letter, Garnett wrote that Dougherty and Foote — who works in the DA’s office when the Legislature is not in session — both are qualified, but Dougherty has more managerial experience.
“Mike Foote has been minimally involved in my office since he ran for the Legislature in 2012 and has never held a management or leadership position, nor is he seen as a leader by the staff there,” Garnett wrote.
Garnett wrote that Dougherty is “seen as a leader on criminal justice reform issues both in the law enforcement and defense bar communities,” adding that Foote has been “resistant to reform in the Legislature during his time as a (representative).”
Garnett alleges in the letter that Foote’s campaign has spread false rumors about the governor’s selection process, and he felt an “obligation to correct the record for the good of the office.”
Reached by phone, Garnett said that rumors surfaced while Dougherty and Foote were seeking appointment that suggested Dougherty was not qualified for the DA’s job, and that the oil and gas industry wielded undue influence on the selection process.
Garnett said Foote told him that the rumors did not come from him, but the former DA said he believed they originated with Foote’s campaign.
He added that, during the appointment process, he wrote letters to Gov. John Hickenlooper supporting Dougherty, Foote and another deputy district attorney in the Boulder office who sought the DA’s job.
Garnett stepped down at the end of February to return to private practice. Though he was just appointed, Dougherty must win election in November to keep the DA’s seat.
This article originally appeared in the Boulder Daily Camera on 3/16/2018.