JD 5 Dems regroup after DA hopeful Barson withdraws | SummitDaily.com

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JD 5 Dems regroup after DA hopeful Barson withdraws

Special to the DailyBruce Brown

FRISCO – Democrats from the 5th Judicial District gave Bruce Brown the nod for district attorney at the party’s district assembly in Frisco Thursday.

The Democrats used the meeting to regroup following Democratic hopeful Todd Barson’s withdrawal from the race amid a domestic violence scandal last month.

Summit County Dems had previously backed Barson for DA in two decisive straw polls.

Brown, a criminal defense attorney from Clear Creek County, accepted the party nomination and will face off against Republican deputy DA Scott Turner in November.

“This has obviously been a bittersweet week for all of us,” Brown said at the assembly. “It’s somewhat difficult to benefit from somebody else’s pain.”

Barson, who was arrested March 30 on charges of domestic violence and harassment among others, did not attend the assembly, but Breckenridge Town Councilman Mark Burke did make a statement on his behalf.

“I’ve been in communication with Todd Barson,” Burke said. “It’s been a rough two weeks and he 100 percent supports Bruce Brown and asks all his delegates to 100 percent support Bruce Brown, and not only support him but also to … campaign to make sure we get a Democrat elected to this office.”

Barson, 44, dropped out of the district attorney’s race at the end of March as news surfaced that he had turned himself in to the Summit County Jail following an alleged domestic violence incident at his home earlier the same week.

He was released the same day on a $750 bond and Judge Mark Thompson put a gag order on the case, according to the Breckenridge Police Department.

Barson declined to comment on his situation or the DA’s race Saturday.

This will be Brown’s second bid for the DA’s office. He lost to current District Attorney Mark Hurlbert by a narrow margin in 2004. Term limited, Hurlbert will step down early next year after 10 years in office.

Brown, a father of three, practices criminal defense law in Idaho Springs and his trial experience includes murder, fraud and sexual assault.

“I saw myself as someone who could assume the role of leadership within the DA’s office and be in a position to teach young lawyers,” Brown said at the assembly.

Republican candidate Turner has nine years of prosecution experience and, having worked under Hurlbert, says he also understands the leadership, administration and community responsibility aspects of the job.

“I’m going to be a passionate prosecutor,” Turner told the Summit Daily after announcing his bid for office in December. “When you’re talking with a parent whose child has been murdered … you want somebody who can represent the memory of their son and make sure that that person is put behind bars for a very long time.”

The 5th Judicial District includes Eagle, Lake, Summit and Clear Creek counties.